Wine lovers, welcome to the best Cowichan Valley Wine Tour! Nestled only 45 mintues north of the city of Victoria, B.C, the Cowichan Valley is a hidden gem in the world of wine and culinary experiences. Offering more than just stunning landscapes, it is also home to an array of wineries, each providing its own unique elevated tasting experiences and creating inredible Vancouver Island wine memories.
While you can step into just about any Canadian winery and enjoy a lovely sampling of wines at a standing bar, sometimes the occasion calls for something a step above. Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge, impress out of town guests, or splurge for a special occasion, you’ll be sure to find a dazzling experience at the wineries below that offers incedible value.
In this guide of the best Cowichan Valley wine tour, we’ll explore the best elevated tastings the Cowichan Valley has to offer. From private vineyard walks to exclusive barrel room tastings, where you can savour the region’s finest wines and locally-sourced gourmet delights.
First on our list of the best Cowichan Valley wine tour is Averill Creek Vineyard. Situated in the heart of Cowichan Valley, Averill Creek Vineyard boasts a stunning vineyard setting with sweeping views of the valley and ocean. It is a celebrated winery that has earned a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality wines that capture the essence of the island’s terroir. Established in 2001, the winery has garnered numerous accolades and a dedicated following of wine enthusiasts.
Averill Creek Vineyard was founded by Andy Johnston, who was inspired by the potential of Vancouver Island as a wine-producing region. The Cowichan Valley, with its unique climate and fertile soil, proved to be the ideal location for vine cultivation.
Since its inception, the winery has focused on sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices, emphasizing the production of premium cool-climate varietals. Averill Creek Vineyard is renowned for its dedication to crafting a range of wines that capture the island’s unique terroir. They are touted for their flagship varietal, Pinot Noir, known for its elegant and expressive character. Averill Creek’s Pinot Noir often features notes of red berries, cherry, and subtle earthy undertones.
Equally impressive, the winery’s Pinot Gris showcases the island’s cool-climate terroir, offering a refreshing and crisp white wine with vibrant acidity, often expressing citrus and pear notes.
Averill Creek Vineyard also produces a unique wine called “Foch-Eh!” which is a playful and well-received blend of Maréchal Foch and Gamay Noir. This wine often features red fruit flavors and a hint of spice. Not to be missed, Averill Creek’s Cowichan Black is a red blend, showcasing the richness and depth of flavours that can be achieved in the Cowichan Valley. This wine typically presents dark fruit, chocolate, and smoky notes.
Touted as the ultimate experience for the wine nerd in your life, Averill Creek’s “The Full Package” is a must for those looking to elevate their wine tasting journey. No matter your background, whether wine aficionado or simply a beginner, this experience offers a true chance to dive into the world of winemaking and the very ethos Averill Creek stands behind in their winemaking practices. For anyone with a passion for wine, Averill Creek is a top bet on the best Cowichan Valley wine tour.
This private tour begins in the winery production area for a barrel tasting, followed by a brief walk and talk in the vines led by a knowledgeable wine expert. After a walk through the vineyards, you will be seated in their private room or on their stunning outdoor ocean-view terrace. Both settings make for the perfect ambiance to indulge in a fully guided flight of Estate and Reserve level wines, along with a tasty variety of premium provisions.
Unsworth Vineyards is a renowned winery that epitomizes the essence of British Columbia’s wine culture. Making the list of best Cowichan Valley wine tour, Unsworth Vineyards is celebrated for its commitment to producing high-quality wines and fostering a deep appreciation for the culinary arts.
The winery’s journey began with its founder, Tim Turyk, who recognized the potential of Vancouver Island as a wine-producing region. With its unique climate and fertile soil, the Cowichan Valley proved to be the perfect canvas for crafting wines that embody the essence of the region. Since its inception in 2009, the winery has been dedicated to sustainable farming practices and crafting wines that showcase the island’s terroir.
Unsworth Vineyards is celebrated for its elegant and diverse portfolio of wines, including their Charme de l’Île, a sparkling wine that truly showcases Unsworth’s dedication to producing high-quality cool-climate sparkling wines. It is known for its bright acidity, fine bubbles, and vibrant citrus and apple notes. Unsworth’s sparkling wine offerings continue to be a fan favourite along the best Cowichan Valley wine tour.
The Unsworth Allegro is a lively and refreshing blend of Bacchus and Ortega, highlighting the bright and zesty character of these cool-climate varietals. Pinot Noir enthusiasts will appreciate the winery’s expression of this varietal in their Unsworth Pinot Noir, showcasing red fruit flavors, soft tannins, and a hint of earthiness. The winery’s Unsworth Syrah is a standout, known for its deep and complex character, featuring rich black fruit, pepper, and a hint of smoked meat.
If you want to take in everything this winery has to offer, opt for their guided tour and tasting. A truly unique and immersive experience, you will have the opportunity to experience Unsworth Vineyards on foot while sampling five wines and touring the grounds with one of their knowledgeable wine ambassadors. For the novice or advanced wine lover, this is a “must stop” winery along the best Cowichan Valley wine tour.
Whilst sipping, you will learn about their history, growing practices, unique terroir, and winemaking methods. Walking the vineyards and delving into the nuances of Unsworth’s wines, what better way to appreciate everything Cowichan Valley has to offer.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery, with its enchanting terrace overlooking the vineyards, is a picturesque setting for an elevated tasting experience. A daily stop on the best Cowichan Valley wine tour, it is a truly captivating destination that beckons wine enthusiasts with its commitment to producing exceptional wines and the serenity of its vineyard setting.
This family-owned winery, rebranded as Blue Grouse Estate Winery in 2012, continues to honour the region’s winemaking traditions while forging its own path to excellence. Their commitment to sustainability and producing premium wines has allowed the winery to flourish and excel as a stop along the best Cowichan Valley wine tour.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery is celebrated for its dedication to crafting a diverse range of wines that reflect the region’s unique terroir. The Blue Grouse Ortega is the signature white wine varietal for Blue Grouse. It often features notes of green apple, citrus, and tropical fruits, with a bright acidity that reflects the cool climate of the Cowichan Valley.
The Blue Grouse Pinot Gris is known for its crisp and refreshing character. It typically showcases flavors of pear, citrus, and a hint of spice.
The Blue Grouse Quill White is a blend of Bacchus, Ortega, and Müller-Thurgau, creating a harmonious combination of fruitiness and minerality. Pinot Noir enthusiasts will find swoon over Blue Grouse’s version, featuring red fruit flavours, silky tannins, and a hint of earthiness.
Finally, their Blue Grouse Quill Red, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir, is known for its flavours of dark cherry, plum, and a subtle spiciness, delivering a balanced and accessible profile.
Their “Grape to Glass Tour” offers an in depth guided tour of the vineyard. This includes a vineyard walk, a chance to see the grapes up close and personal, and the rare glimpse into Blue Grouse’s incredible culture of biodiversity and sustainability. With plenty of opportunity for asking questions, you will learn all about the Blue Grouse winemaking process, and will also be afforded the chance to wander the cellar and barrel rooms where the magic really happens.
The walking tour is perfectly capped off by an extensive tasting of five reserve wines. An abundant charcuterie board overflowing with local goodies paired with a hefty glass of wine take this experience over the top. All of this takes place in a heavenly setting on their terrace, allowing you to take in the serenity of the vineyard surroundings. The gentle breeze and the sight of flourishing vines enhance the ambiance, making for a truly serene tasting session.
An honourable mention on the best Cowichan Valley wine tour, Merridale Cidery & Distillery offers an exclusive private cider tour and tasting experience. During the experience, you will be guided through their production process from orchard to glass. The tour starts right in the orchard where their fruit is grown and botanicals gathered. Yes, we know this isn’t a winery, but what Vancouver Island wine lover doesn’t like cider?
Following the orchard walk, you will be guided through a sensory analysis tasting of Merridale’s craft ciders. Up close and personal, this experience provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in the orchard, ask questions, and savour every sip.
The Cowichan Valley is a true haven for wine and culinary enthusiasts, offering a plethora of elevated tasting experiences that embody the region’s rich terroir and commitment to sustainability. Whether you’re looking for a romantic vineyard picnic, a sensory exploration of food and wine, or a unique cider adventure, the wineries on this list are a top bet for the best Cowichan Valley wine tour.
As you embark on your journey through the Cowichan Valley’s finest wineries, you will not only savour exquisite wines but also create lasting memories amidst the region’s breathtaking landscapes. These elevated tastings are a testament to the Cowichan Valley’s dedication to providing an authentic and immersive tasting experience for visitors who seek to explore the heart of this wine-rich region. Cheers to savouring elegance and having fun on the best Cowichan Valley wine tour!