Mal and I picked the perfect day for a wine tour: cloudy and rainy. To be honest, we were bummed about the weather, but we figured that riding around visiting vineyards and tasting wine wasn’t a terrible way to spend a rainy day.
Our moods instantly improved when a huge stretch limo picked us up for the wine tour. What a fun surprise!
The first stop of the wine tour was at the Godfrey-Brownell Vineyards, which is situated about an hour north of Victoria in the heart of the Cowichan Valley. The 18-acre vineyard uses natural methods to fertilize it grapes, plus no pesticides or herbicides. The wine-making process also uses the most natural, non-interventionist methods possible.
At Godfrey-Brownell, we tried a number of wine whites (Bacchus, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris) as well as some reds (Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and Maréchal Foch). All delicious.
My favorite was a 2003 Pinot Noir Reserve, which was smooth and elegant.
Zanatta Winery and Vineyards
Our next stop was the Zanatta Winery and Vineyards. Also located in the Cowichan Valley, the winery is part of a 120-acre farm. Thirty of those acres are grape vines, while the remainder is farm pasture, hay fields, forest, and old fruit orchards.
At this winery, we tasted Ortega, Cayuga, Auxerrois, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero, and Madeleine X Sylvaner. The vineyard also has at least 30 different varieties for experimental purposes or for limited specialty wines– varieties such as Castel, Leon Millot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, Siegerrebe. I had never heard of most of these varieties!
After the second vineyard, we enjoyed a 3-course lunch with the group.
The first course was shrimp with a mango salsa and kale on the side. Delicious!
The main course was grilled salmon with risotto, grilled veggies, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
I especially liked the risotto, which was creamy and mixed with mini shrimp and green pepper.
Before dessert was served, we tasted a raspberry dessert wine, which was much too sweet for my liking, but I’m glad that I tried it.
Dessert was a delightful chocolate mousse with white shaved chocolate, chocolate syrup, and a strawberry and mint garnish.
I pretty much devoured it!
Cherry Point Vineyards
After lunch, we visited Cherry Point Vineyards.
The vineyard at Cherry Point was established in 1990 when the founders purchased 34 acres on a former mink ranch a few miles south of Cowichan Bay. Today the 24-acre vineyard is the second largest on Vancouver Island.
Cherry Point has 10 main varieties and 8 limited varieties of wine, including Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir, Agria, Ortega, Seigerrebe, and Castel.
Mal really loved the Cherry Point Pinot Gris and purchased a bottle to drink in the limo. My husband knows how to vacation!
Silverside Farm & Winery
Silverside Farm is a unique winery producing raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry wines.
It’s also a beautiful farm!
All of the wines at Silverside were incredibly sweet– a number of which were fruity, full-flavored ports. Surprisingly, I liked them a lot!
A piece of chocolate between sips was the perfect compliment!
Mal and Maggie became friends fast!
Blue Grouse Vineyards
The final stop of our wine tour was at the Blue Grouse Vineyards, which may have been the prettiest vineyard of the day. I snapped so many pics there!
Blue Grouse is a family-owned and operated vineyard and winery established as one of the founding Estates wineries of Vancouver Island.
Blue Grouse’s wine include a number of varieties:
- Wines: Bacchus, Müller-Thurgau, Ortega, Pinot Gris, and Siegerrebe
- Reds: Black Muscat, Gamay Noir, and Pinot Noir
What a gorgeous vineyard! I could not snapping photos!
What an amazing wine tour! It’s definitely an experience that I will never forget!