How far are the winerys from downtown Victoria, I will be renting a car.
How far are the winerys from downtown Victoria, I will be renting a car.
There are package wine tours also available. Of the two areas My vote would go to Cowichan Valley over the Saanich Peninsula.
It's too bad some posters feel like bashing what we have to offer our Visitors especially when it comes to matters of taste but that's the way some folks just gotta be....
The wine industry in BC is very young compared to Napa, France, the Alsace etc but we do have some extraordinary wines. Different regions produce certain varietals well such as the big reds of the Naramata bench. Vancouver island is known for its unusual whites (Ortega) and its Pinot Noirs. All BC wines are expensive - sadly.
Most wineries are pretty small operations and I often find that the winemakers are more interested in making wine rather than running tasting rooms so be sure to check hours and have a backup plan.
The main region on Vancouver Island is the Cowichan valley and it makes a great daytrip from Victoria so perhaps planning a daytrip that includes wine tasting would be a better plan...
Here are my suggestions:
Things to see and do in the Cowichan valley
Just a short drive north on Hwy 1, over the Malahat pass, lies the rich, fertile Cowichan Valley. “Cowichan” translates as “The Warm Lands” and you’ll soon see why. Wineries, farms, cheesemakers and more await your visit. Be sure to grab the Cowichan Wine Loop brochure and the Wine Islands Guide. Favourite wineries include Merridale Cidery, Enrico, Averill Creek, Damali Lavender Farm and more.
Located on Hwy 1 North of Langford this provincial park is famous for the easy viewing of the salmon spawning in the fall (Typically November). It contains easy walking, hiking trails and our own “Niagara Falls” which cascades down 48M into a lush pool.
Malahat Pass – This picturesque ‘mountain’ pass affords great views of Georgia Strait, the gulf Islands and the Saanich Peninsula. There are two view points and a rest area. I prefer the 2nd view point which comes up just after the rest area. Tip: watch your speed on this hwy as it is often patrolled by police.
GBS Glass Blowing Studio
.5 KM off the hwy towards Shawnigan lake lies this lil’ gem. Watch glass artworks being created and shop for lamps, wine glasses and art pieces.
In 2011 the restored Kinsol Trestle was reopened and you can now enjoy an easy walk over this magnificent structure. There are two approaches. The shortest walk from parking to the trestle is on the north side - about 5 minutes, with a gentle grade. The drive to the trestle from the north side includes about 5kms of gravel road, but it is well maintained. The walk from the south side is longer - about 25 minutes - but as it is part of the Trans Canada Trail, it is very level and easy to walk. Follow the signs off Hwy 1 and at the center of Shawnigan Lake Village turn right.
This beautiful little historic seaside town features plenty of local shops including Hillary’s Cheese, The Udder Guys Ice Cream store and a wooden boat museum. The fish store features local prawns in season as well as terrific oysters, smoked salmon etc. Grab a loaf of artisan bread, meats, cheeses and fish and enjoy a picnic on the road, perhaps at Averill Creek winery’s scenic picnic grounds.
Duncan - City of Totems
The drive through Duncan on Hwy 1 is entirely unattractive but a detour to the old town centre rewards visitors with a true treasure, the Totem Tour. These free 45 minute tours are offered Mon – Friday May through September and Saturdays May through late August. They depart on the hour from the old train station. Last tour is typically 1 or 2 pm and tours are not offered on Sundays. Off season tours can be arranged by calling 250-715-1700
Raptors Birds of Prey Centre
Take a Hawk Walk or Owl Prowl at this amazing, yet low key attraction located at1877 Herd Road on the outskirts of Duncan. Viewing the eagles, hawks, owls, kookaburras and more in their enclosures allows a close up experience but it is the flying demonstration that is a must see. Each day at 1:30 (and 3:30 in the summer) visitors take a seat on log benches and watch these magnificent birds of prey exhibit their natural behaviors in a large field and open sky. Grab a seat up front to be within an arms length of these amazing creatures. Don’t forget your camera .
BC Forest Discovery Forest Center
This living museum educates visitors in one of BC’s most important ways of life – logging and forest husbandry. Visit a logging camp, examine a century’s worth of logging equipment and learn to discern between a Fir and a Cedar tree! Railway buffs will marvel at the collection of 12 historic locomotives and enjoy a ride on the steam powered train.
Chemainus – “The World’s Largest Outdoor Art Gallery”
Stroll the streets and alleys of historic Chemainus viewing larger than life murals capturing life as it was a century ago. These amazing murals are a delight to behold but their real stories are brought to life when you follow the “159 yr old” Isabel Askew as she guides you on her informative walking tour. Askew’s tours depart from the vistor info center in July and August. Just look for the lady in period costume on the bench outside. If she’s not there just wait and she’ll return. To schedule a tour at other times call 250- 246-9919. While you wait be sure to visit the park across the street to see the chainsaw sculpture gallery.
Crow & Gate Pub – Cedar BC (just south of Nanaimo)
If you feeling like it’s time for a bite to eat this authentic English Style pub is a real gem. Located in the countryside at 2313 Yellow point road the Crow & Gate offers traditional English Pub fare in a beautiful garden setting. Use your GPS!
I would completely endorse all the attractions on iGuy's list. Use Google Maps to locate them, then click on "satellite view" and zoom in/out to see the lay of the land. For example:
Balloon A = GBS Glassblowing, a retail store that displays works of art. You might find some exquisite wine glasses to take home. Or failing that, you might find some in Chemainus at "Gift N Things" which is here on the map: http://goo.gl/maps/8aODc
Balloon B = Kinsol Trestle, which is a pretty impressive site.
Balloon C = Malahat lookout, only accessible northbound.
Be patient on the country roads where there is little signage. Mark up your paper map if necessary to keep you on track. It's a 2 hour drive between Vic and Nanaimo, so it's doable.
Crow and Gate Pub is a delightful place where you order at the bar, then sit out on the picnic tables, shared with others if desired, for your order to be brought out to you: http://goo.gl/maps/JDDHb
And here are our provincial laws for getting caught drinking and driving: cba.org/bc/public_media/automobiles/190.aspx
My wife and I will be returning to Victoria in June for our second time and will be bringing her cousin and his wife (we are all winos and foodies) and look forward to sampling your local wares. We'll be staying at our WorldMark condos which we found very convenient to resturants and attractions. Your suggestions are just the type we've been looking for. I would like to know more about island.Edited: 2:40 pm, January 15, 2013
Hi Whistler0 ~
It's great to know that this thread has helped you with your planning. In general, when you want information for your unique needs, it's better to post a new question. Slipping in here at #15 keeps you pretty invisible. You really want your own topic line and user name visible on the forum page. That way when people browse the topic listings they can see which questions are new and haven't received replies yet.
To read a bit more about what things there are to see and do, check out the "Things to Do" in the left sidebar. And go up one level to the "Vancouver Island Forum" which can be clicked on the blue printing just below the reply box below.
You might also find the following webpages of interest:
To Multimixandmatch thanks. I'm still getting use to posting.Edited: 4:17 pm, January 15, 2013
We hope to see more of you. Welcome to the forums!
Yes indeed, WhistlerO. Welcome to the forums. My wife and I are also foodies and winos and love Victoria (we've visited 32 times since our first trip in 1981.) Be sure to enjoy a meal or two at Matisse, Il Terrazzo and Camille's -- excellent fine dining. Decent wine selections, too, especially at Il Terrazzo which has a Wine Spectator award.Edited: 9:54 pm, January 15, 2013
We were just in Victoria BC in June 2013 and visited Symphony Vineyards, de Vine Vineyards and Church and State Wines. We tasted at both Symphony and de Vine and thought they both had some decent wines. Both waived the tasting fee ($3 at Symphony and $5 at de Vine) as we bought one bottle each at the respective vineyards. We didn't taste at Church and State as we believe the $8 fee is ridiculous for 4 tastings. Enjoyed the Pinot Gris from Symphony while at Butchart Gardens enjoying a picnic dinner and are saving the de Vine Syrah for a later date after it has aged.