Alderlea Vineyards is one of Vancouver Island’s oldest and most respected vineyards, nestled in the Cowichan Valley, near Duncan on Vancouver Island. The winery was founded by Roger and Nancy Dosman. Roger was a true pioneer of the BC wine Industry. In 2017 Zac Brown and Julie Powell took over the winery.
Zac and Julie have left behind 20-year careers in Health & Safety and Human Resources respectively, with global corporations to pursue a long-held dream of owning a vineyard and making wine professionally.
Not long after getting married, Zac and Julie began entertaining the idea of retreating from an otherwise successful corporate life and owning their own vineyard one day. Over the years, they looked at a number of vineyards on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan, in addition to properties in France, Italy, the US, New Zealand and South America. In the end, the pull of Vancouver Island was very strong, with Zac having grown up in Port Hardy and having family on the island still.
When Zac and Julie first visited Alderlea in the fall of 2016, they knew they had found their dream vineyard. The considerable pride, care and attention with which Roger and Nancy founded and managed the vineyard, winery and Alderlea brand were palpable.
This would be my first visit to the winery. The winery is located on the north side of Duncan on the slopes above Quamichan Lake. Once past Duncan it features a lovely drive through the picturous country side.
I was warmly greeted by Julie and Zac, Julie explain the layout of the vineyards and their commitment to Sustainable farming practices. The winery is also committed to using local companies and resources.
No animal based products or fining agents are used in the winery. The facility is passively cooled and well insulated, removing the need for air-conditioning and high energy use.
We made our way to the small but cozy tasting room where Julie led the experience. As a family run business Zac and Julie prefer to remain small selling out of most of their wines. They both share in the winemaking. I must say I was rather impressed with their wines.
We stared with the Valerie enticing blend of 80% Cowichan Valley Ortega and 20% Alderlea Viognier, with bright aromas of apricot and pear, was inspired by Julie’s late mother, Valerie, a spirited woman of enduring elegance, poise and wit. Julie been the winemaker for this one. A most enjoyable wine I greatly appreciated.
Next we tasted the Sauvignon Blanc. I was so into this wine I forgot to write my notes. I can remember the elements of dry green apple and gooseberries.
I am of course a lover of Bacchus their 2017 Bacchus – Gold medal –All Canadian Wine Championships.
It was time for the reds we started with the Clarinet, a Silver Medal – 2021 Wine Align Canadian Nationals. It began with a nice aroma of Black berries followed by hints of cherry and pepper.
Next was a very nice Merlot, where the dark berry fruits shone through. This was followed y the "Contraband" 2018 a full-bodied blend of Merlot, Cabernet Foch, and Cabernet.
For a small Island winery they have won a surprising number of awards. Their hospitality is also award winning. Thank you Julie and Zac for such a wonderful visit
Blue Grouse Estate winery ~ Church & State Winery ~ Symphony