Located in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, 40 Knots was originally founded by a tug boat captain and of course named the winery after a navigation, measure of speed at sea. After devoting a few years to the making of wine the captain decided to sell, it was purchased in 2014 by Brenda Hetman-Craig and her husband Layne Craig. They had been looking at property on the Island when Layne a pilot was googling information about why his plane's engine had stalled during a flight at 40knots. He clicked on a link that lead him to a winery for sale in the Comox area by the name of yup. you guessed it. 40 Knots, the rest is history!
Brenda and Layne say "This is where home is. This is where it all feels right, and all feels peaceful. This is where there are like-minded people, and this is where the beauty is endless. This is where dreams can come true."
Barbara and I had planned a visit to Northern Vancouver Island to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary. Our time was limited forcing us to pick just one of the many fine wineries in the area. Due to its outstanding reputation we decided on 40 Knots, we were not disappointed, it was everything we were hoping for and more!
After a pleasant drive along the old Island Highway and a little help from Google we arrived at the winery. We were greeted in the parking lot by a staff member and volunteers helping with the harvest. Barbara of course stopped to chat and learned that the employees are given lunch; which that day was pizza. Once inside, we were warmly greeted by Ian who was unaware we were representing winesofcanada.com. It is rare we let wineries know we are visiting, that way we get the real deal re hospitality. We
certainly got it with Ian who was energetic and very knowledgeable about the wines he was presenting.
I chatted with Ian while Barbara took a quick look through the gift shop (one of her favourite things to do) before settling in for a tasting. During our conversation it came to light that we were from Wines of Canada, he let Brenda know right away
He led us along with two other couples, through a tasting. We began with their white (all island grapes) blend labeled White Seas. It had lovely aromas and crisp flavour a very smooth wine. There are no pesticides used in the growing of the grapes, all are hand picked. They have a program where they hire people who have other professions but want to find out what it would be like to work in a winery doing everything from picking the grapes to the bottling.
One of their most impressive wines is the 2018 Sieg, made of course, with island grown Siegerreb grapes. The wine is highlighted by aromas of ripe tropical fruits and would pair well with white cheeses and mild meats.
Then came their Rose`which lingered on the palate, followed by two reds, the Gamay Noir was the outstanding one here.
I spotted a Petite Milo on a shelf, I know of only one other winery that produces this wine. Ian was quick to offer me a tasting even though it was not part of the lineup. This one was a winner with intense fruit flavours that were soft and refreshing.
At this point we were joined by the lovely co/owner Brenda Hetman-Craig. She proceeded to guide us through additional wine tastings, that included a suburb Auxerrois. Brenda took us through a taste comparison between a Pinot Noir 115 Amphora 2017, with a 12 day ferment, and a 2017 Pinot Noir, aged in French Oak. Both were very good wines but for my selection, I went with the 115.
We finished with the fortified Safe Haven made from Marechal Foch grown on Vancouver Island. It delivered a smooth warming aroma of hazelnuts, chocolate, spices, and rich black fruit, the wine finished extremely well. Barbara enjoyed all the tastings offered but fell in love with that one. A donation is made to the Watershed Program from every bottle of the Safe Haven that is sold.
There were additional wines in the cellar, but you can't taste them all, as much as we would like to. The winery does not have a food license per say but one can purchase a picnic consisting of cheeses, crackers, jams and meats to enjoy in the vineyard which of course is what we did. Barbara also took a fancy to the 40 Knots L'Orange so she opted for a glass of that while I chose a Petite Milo to enjoy with our lunch. Relaxing in the vineyard was a perfect finish to a wonderful afternoon of wine tasting.
40 Knots is one of the wineries listed on the Wineries to Watch in 2019 pages. Chances are looking good that they will make our 2020 list, along with our list of best wineries to visit. Thank you Brenda, Ian and staff for an amazing visit, we hope to return soon.
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