Wines of Canada
British Columbia's Gulf Islands
Off Canada's West Coast lie the Gulf Islands, they are comprised of about one hundred islands spread between Vancouver Island and the southern British Columbia mainland.
Thirteen of the islands are large enough to support homes and cottages. Saturna, Salt Spring, Quadra, Pender and Hornby Islands have wineries.
The Gulf Islands enjoy less than 30 inches of rain per year. Lying southwest of the Strait of Georgia, along the coast of Vancouver Island between Campbell River to the north and Victoria to the south, this necklace of islands is surrounded by sheltered waters, strong tides, and dramatic coastlines.
Charmingly serene Denman Island is a refuge for some 1,100 residents off the east-central coast of Vancouver Island. Denman Island’s agricultural history goes back 120 years. However, the island’s viticulture began only in 2006 with coincidental purchases of vineyard sites by the owners of Chateau Beaufort and Corlan
Chateau Beaufort Vineyards
4796 Lacon Road RR1
They may have closed.
The principals at Chateau Beaufort - Noble are Max Campill de Wedges and his partner, Linda Elgert. The vineyard is not named for the Beaufort Mountains (which can be seen off to the west on Vancouver Island) but for former European chateaux from Max’s convoluted genealogy. “Two old ladies of my ancestry, Blanche of Artois and Blanche of Lancaster, were the chatelaines of Beaufort in Champagne country,” Max says. “I have 1,000 years of tradition.”
Max was born in Portugal in 1949, studied chemical engineering but, following family tradition, became an officer in the Portuguese navy. He left his native land in 1972 for Montreal, choosing Canada because a great-grandmother had been a cousin of Lord Stanley, this country’s sixth Governor General. “That was a time when there was enormous political turmoil,” he says of Portugal. “I could see the revolution coming. I left two years before the revolution.” Settling in Vancouver two years later, he took up the career of claims adjuster with the provincial automobile insurer, putting aside his interest in wine, which is another family tradition.
In 2006 he and Linda, a former flight attendant, bought four hectares (10 acres) on the sunbathed west coast of Denman Island, bringing along four Maréchal Foch vines from their Vancouver balcony. That was the start of a vineyard planted since 2008 to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Max’s preferred noble varieties, and several Blattner varieties.
“I set 1,000 cases as my limit,” Max says of his winemaking plans. “I can produce 15 tons of good grapes here. That will give me 1,000 cases. I only want to produce the best. I will not compete with plonk.”
Winemaker: Max Campill de Wedges
8441 McFarlane Road
Denman Island, BC V0R 1T0.
Corlan Vineyard’s owners, Pat and Selwyn Jones, plan to make 1,000 cases as my limit 1.6-hectare (four-acre) planting, mainly of Maréchal Foch and Ortega. Their vineyard is on a south-facing slope not far from Chateau Beaufort. After clearing the forest from the slope, they planted in 2006, with about 5,000 vines that Selwyn propagated from cuttings in his own greenhouse.
Born in Wales in 1934, Selwyn spent a lifetime in plant propagation. After getting a diploma in horticulture, he began his career in Britain. The postwar government there was planting extensively to build a lumber resource for a future war. When that policy was shelved, Selwyn resumed his career in British Columbia in 1967. At the time, the forest ministry was propagating millions of trees and giving them without charge to the forest companies for replanting. In 1980, when the government decided it should sell seedlings, Selwyn opened his own firm, Sylvan Vale Nursery, at Black Creek on Vancouver Island. Now run by his daughters, Iola and Siriol, Sylvan Vale has grown to 46 greenhouses for propagating seedlings.
The word “Corlan” is a Welsh word meaning sheepfold. The label on their wines shows a stone circle enclosure – this is a corlan, a place where the sheep in Wales are brought for shearing and other attentions.
Selwyn was introduced to viticulture when some of the new Cowichan Valley wineries asked him for grapevines in the early 1990s. He estimates that he propagated as many as 20,000 vines a year.
Corlan Vineyard’s To Ewe 2019 Raspberry Dessert wine won a Gold Medal at the 2020 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, New York.
Winemaker: Selwyn Jones
notes provided by John Schreiner
Salt Spring Island
Largest and most populated of the Canadian Gulf Islands, 17 miles long x 9 miles wide. Salt Spring lies in the sheltered waters off the east coast of Vancouver Island, midway between Victoria and Vancouver BC. Salt Spring is accessible by three ferry routes and three scheduled airlines from Vancouver. Ganges is the primary village on Salt Spring and the location of most shops, stores, galleries and services.
Garry Oaks Winery
1880 Fulford-Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2A5
The winery was sold to Nalini Samuel in 2016
One of the iconic views on Salt Spring Island is that of the hillside Garry Oaks vineyard under the distinctive peak of Mount Maxwell. The winery was originally founded in 1999 by Marcel Mercier and Elaine Kozak when they planted the vineyard.
In recognition of her winery’s namesake and the huge old Garry oaks growing behind the wine tasting room, Nalini has decided to contribute a dollar from every person who does a wine tasting at the winery to GOERT. She calls it “Put a cork in it” and each person is given a cork after the wine tasting which she or he puts into a glass vase under a poster board that illustrates the attributes of Garry oak ecosystems and how GOERT is moving to protect them. Once a month, she will add up the corks and donate to GOERT.
They use TCA free cork (the most earth friendly closures), recycled ecofriendly bottles, and recycled local paper and reusable natural jute bags to package our wine.
The winery does not wish to provide information
Salt Spring Vineyards
151 Lee Road
at the 1700 block Fulford Ganges Rd
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2A5
Set in the idyllic Fulford Valley, the coastal climate here allows for slow fruit ripening, ideal for crisp,delicious wines unique to the area. A well designed winery with beautiful vineyards and gardens located on the hillside over looking
the Valley. The winery opened in 2002 .
The current owners are Joanne and Devlin McIntyre.
They started as hobby farmers near Abbotsford and were the founders of the Fraser Valley Wine Growers association. In 2008 they learned that Salt Spring Island Vineyards was for sale.
The winery obtains 90% of their grapes from the Islands and produces around 2,500 cases
The wines produced are: Pinot Gris, Aromata(a coastal white blend),Pinot Noirs,Millotage(Coastal red blend),Merlot, a traditionally-made champenoise Sparkler(Karma)and 2 dessert wines-Apple Pie and Blackberry Port. The most popular sellers are the BB Port and our award-winning Pn Reserve.
Winemaker Paul troop is responsible for introducing the Blattner vines to the Islands.
Philosophy: I'd say that each place in the world that ‘can' grow grapes has some limits of viticulture potential. If the grape grower is honest and works to the best of that potential –leaving their ego behind (not pursuing the varieties that will NOT work there) and putting ALL into growing the best they can, then the winemaker has the opportunity to work with some incredible fruit. From there it is a matter of assessing the potential in a given year and working towards the best balance that can be had. In our region we are often faced with low Brix, high acid, low pH grapes. This means learning how to manage acids while retaining incredible fruit potential. Interesting stuff.
164 Norton Road
Salt Spring Island B.C. V8K 2P5
Former Mistaken Identity
1625 North End Road,
Salt Spring Island V8K 1C6
The newest of the Island Wineries.
The smallest and least populated of the Gulf Islands only 4 square acres and 350 residents.
SouthEnd Farm Vineyards
319 Sutil Road,
A small family winery located on the south end of the Island. The winery opened in 2009 after seven years of planning and work. Owned by
Ben McGuffie and Jill Ogasawara
2011 was their first estate harvest from their own vineyard.
They plan on staying small making handcrafted wine from primarily Quadra Island grapes with a few thrown in from the Comox Valley. They want to make the best wines from grapes specific to our climate They make a dessert wine from Agra.
Signature wines: Ortega, Black Crow ( Blend of Dornfelder, Agria and Pinot Noir grapes) and the Jimmy K (90% Pinot Gris and 10% Ortega)
In addition to the winery they run a small pastured meat chicken farm
Winemaker: Ben McGuffie and Jill Ogasawara
Philosophy: A little intervention as possible, the best wines are made in the vineyards.
The Island has about 1000 residents.
Hornby Island also has more parks than any other Gulf Island including Helliwell Provincial Park, Big Tribune Provincial Park, Mount Geoffrey Regional Park and Fords Cove Marina.
7000 Anderson Drive
Hornby Island BC V0R 1Z0
Owned and operated by John Grayson who fulfilled a dream and a passion by starting his own winery The farm which he bought in 1999 has 19 acres on the south side of the island. There is very little rain here which makes it an almost desert-like climate. Currently the winery is producing only fruit wines, future plans call for Pinot Gris and Leon Millot
Winemaker: Ron Taylor
Little Tribune farm & winery
6160 Central Road
Hornby Island, BC V0R1Z0
In 2003 ,Larry Pierce and Margit, his partner,
bought a farm near Hornby Island’s Little Tribune Bay. They planted
about a hectare of blueberries and such vegetables as corn and potatoes. In 2008, they added 1.2 hectares (three acres) of organic grapes
(Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc) and began developing
Larry wants to make the winery as eye appealing as possible to the Islands tourists. The new building is now open.
The winery has a one thousand square foot wine cellar, full of German made stainless steel tanks and special cooling equipment. The wine making method is the same practiced at the leading wineries in Germany. A cold fermentation process guarantees that all the flavour in the grapes will stay in the wine The
winery, has the capacity to make about 1,200 cases a year.
Winemaker: Larry Pierce
Philosophy: Our focus is on high quality, crisp, white wines, organically grown grapes and blueberries.
It is a simple truth that products grown in healthy soil taste better
Isla de Lerena Vineyards
1885 Central Road
Hornby Island, BC V0R1Z0
Hornby Island was first explored by the Spanish in 1791, who called it Isla de Lerena. The owners of Isla de Lerena Vineyard are drawn to Hornby Island by the people and serenity of this unique spiritual place. Owner is Phil Davie.+
They have 4 acres planted in 2003
Winemaker: Amy Baugh
Philosophy: Our focus is on high quality, crisp, white wines, organically grown grapes and blueberries.
It is a simple truth that products grown in healthy soil taste better . Small quantities better wine.
Pender Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands located in the Gulf of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada. Pender Island is approximately 34 km² in area and is home to about 2,500 permanent residents, as well as a large seasonal population
Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyard
6621 Harbour Hill Drive
The property has been sold
This amazing property is one of the most beautiful vineyards in British Columbia with 26 acres terracing up to Mount Menzies and cascading down to the ocean. It was owned by David Goudge. Today Sea Star Vineyards expanded to two amazingly beautiful Gulf Islands The name
Sea Star represents the beach, that it is a gulf island winery and surrounded by the ocean, and a "star" is what we aim our winery to become !
Aromatic white wines including Ortega, Siegerrebe, Gewürztraminer and Stella Maris – a blended Estate white wine aspires to live up to the name “Star of the Sea”. Estate grown Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega and Schönberger blended perfectly together.
Poetry – Estate red dessert wine is a blend of Maréchal Foch and Island blackberries. This wine lends support to the expression that wine is “Poetry in a bottle”.
Sea Star Vineyards is a developing farm, the Babydoll Southdown sheep are a popular attraction – the friendliest, best looking and most environmentally conscientious “lawn mowers” you’ll ever met. They are small stature sheep and well-suited to vineyard and orchard grass and weed control. You can’t get much more organic and sustainable than this ! Hudson is our “Platinum Retriever“ who will welcome you when you arrive. He takes his responsibility as official “Greeter” very seriously. His new companion is Hope, a Golden rescued by the SPCA and now enjoying the farm life.
In addition to grapes, the farm also grow a variety of fruit: kiwis, figs, honeyberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Fruit trees include: sweet and tart cherries, apples, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines. When the California poppies are in bloom the hillsides are awash in orange blossoms.
Philosophy: Sea Star’s goal is to produce exquisite wines that express the terroir of our Gulf Island home.
1240 Coats Drive
The Gabriola Cider is owned by Keith and Marti MacKenzie. They began building their dream – an orchard of heritage apples on 27 acres in 2002. The brand name is Gabbie Cider.
They started with uncultivated scrub brush. They tilled the land and created their own locally sourced compost to feed the soil. They built a nursery and trellised rows for our unique stock of heavy fruiting dwarf trees. Finally they built a cider barn and roadside stand to sell our crop and ciders. The orchard has over 1,000 trees across two acres, with 25 different varieties of apples…
They will release their first cider summer 2015. Jonas Greig cider maker has produced two style of cider one Dry with the RS of 14g/l and a Dry Dry cider of only 4g/l RS.
They make a sweet apple cider caramels
Cider-maker: Jonas Greig
Lasqueti Island lies in the Georgia Strait, north of French Creek (on Vancouver Island), and southwest of Texada Island. It is approximately 8 km wide and 22 km long, with an area of 73.56 km2. About 425 permanent residents call Lasqueti home (2011 census). It is accessible by foot passenger ferry service only, or by private boat or plane.
The Old Douglas Farm, one of the original settlements on Lasqueti, is farmed by Mike Mundy and Cindy Craven. The Old Douglas Farm house on Lasqueti Island, near Parksville. This is the oldest inhabited building on the Island, with an 80 -100 year old wisteria plant that has grown over the house and tool shed to the right."
The second largest of the Gulf Islands with the least population. There is a vineyard on the island owned by Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards ~ Pender Island There are sixty acres of vines under cultivation in four designated vineyards
32 Trueworth Road
Sage Hayward Vineyards is located on Saturna in the Southern Gulf Islands, between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The estate is planted across the Island’s south flank on seventy-six of British Columbia’s most beautiful acres. Behind the winery is a steep expanse of ridges and cliffs descends from the peak of Mt. Warburton Pike. The winery looks out on Plumper Sound, a little finger of the Pacific Ocean that runs between Saturna and Pender Island. Nestled between sheer cliffs and ocean currents,The vines enjoy unique climatic conditions tailored to their special growing requirements.
The first vines where planed on Saturna Island in 1995, making it one of the oldest vineyards in the Coastal region. They are rooted in dense soil, a complex of sand and loam resting on clay permeated with ancient marine sediment. These rich compounds infuse our terroir with a hint of the Salish Sea. To the north is Brown’s Ridge, a near-vertical exposure of massive sandstone. Its steep bluffs create a heat trap that benefits the fields below, radiating additional warmth down onto the ripening grapes. The soil remains saturated through the winter months and then gradually dries out through the rest of the year until the rains begin again in late fall. Fir, arbutus and juniper trees are abundant; lavender, rosemary, yarrow and sage grow around the vineyard perimeter alongside blackberries and wild roses.
August 12 2020 the Hayward family purchased the property. With help of Family friends and wine consultant Micheal Bartier they reestablished the vineyard and winery. They also opened a Bristo.
Okanagan ~ Vancouver Island ~ Quadra Island ~Fraser Valley ~ Off the Beaten Path
Listing Your Winery
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