Edit page title Vancouver Island Wine from the Cowichan Valley in British Columbia
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Wines and winemakers on Vancouver Island British Columbia

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Vancouver Island Wine from the Cowichan Valley in British Columbia

Not everyone immediately associates Vancouver Island, on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada with wine. For most, the island stands for rough coastlines, nature, whales and bears that can be seen there in the wild. In the Cowichan Valley, however, you can also get to know Vancouver Island Wine.



Fertile island Vancouver Island

Vancouver Islandoffers more. Due to the mild climate, especially in the southern part on the east side of the island, plants thrive here that would otherwise not grow in these latitudes. The Cowichan Valley region in the southern half of Vancouver Island is a fruit and vegetable garden. Its fertility gave rise to many farms over the course of the settlement's history. Many of them have been in the same family for generations.

How did the winemakers bring the wine to Vancouver Island?

People like to try new things on Vancouver Island. So it happened that new immigrants tried to grow wine on the island. Few of them had any experience in growing wine. They often embarked on an adventure. But they started experimenting with types of wine. The first Vancouver Island Wines were made in the 1920s from berry varieties that grew locally.

The first wine for sale was grown south of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley in 1970. A test project started with the support of the provincial government. More than 100 types of wine were tested for cultivation on Vancouver Island. Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and Ortega turned out to be the varieties that promised the best yield.

Finally, in 1992, the first winery opened its doors in the most fertile valley on the island, the Cowichan Valley. Almost 80 vineyards have grown from these beginnings. Wines from more than 40 wineries grow here. Part of it is on the Gulf Islands, off Vancouver Island. Like the island vintners, they too can enjoy the climate on the east side of Vancouver Island. This is mild and sunny enough for wines to thrive.

Vancouver Island Wine also comes from the Gulf Islands

Few people know that these regions of Vancouver Islands have a climate like the best wine-growing regions in France with warm summers and mild winters. In addition, the amount of precipitation is not particularly high because of the mountains in the west. Vancouver Island Wines that do particularly well here are:

Pinot Noir

The Burgundy red grape is the most widely planted Vancouver Island Wine. The wine is particularly popular because it goes well with regional dishes such as salmon or lamb.

Maréchal Foch

This grape is hardy and can withstand the cold. It makes a full, earthy red wine with a rich color that goes well with grilled meat and stews.


This grape with a Spanish-sounding name is a cross between German wines: Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe. These are also grown on the island. Ortega grapes make a light, flowery wine with a light citrus taste. It tastes particularly good with mussels and crabs, of which there are plenty on the island.

Pinot gris

Finally, the Pinot Gris is a vine that does well in Alsace and Oregon. They are processed in two different ways on the island. Gris, aged in oak barrels. This makes a rich and flavorful wine. If the grape ripens in other barrels, on the other hand, a light, sometimes semi-dry Vancouver Island Wine is created.


Vancouver Island wine
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Source Vancouver Island Wine: Vancouver Island Tourism and local research

Text Vancouver Island Wine: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos Vancouver Island Wine: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline and Canva

Wines and winemakers on Vancouver Island British Columbia

Travel expert Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.