Top Wineries Of Vancouver Island

Kevlynn LoubierOkanagan Wine, Victoria, Victoria Wine Tours

Top Wineries Of Vancouver Island

Let’s explore the top wineries of Vancouver Island! Nestled off the southwestern coast of British Columbia, Canada, a unique microclimate known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and a thriving wine culture is ready for you to explore.

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While the region is famous for its rugged coastlines, abundant wildlife, and of course BC’s beautiful capital city, Victoria, it is also home to a growing number of world-class wineries. These wineries have quickly gained recognition for their exceptional wines, scenic vineyard settings, and the island’s unique terroir.  Looking for just one more reason to finally check out Vancouver Island for yourself?  This may be it!

The top wineries of Vancouver Island all share one common thread. The island’s unique climate and geography create a terroir that is conducive to the cultivation of a multitude of grape varietals. Vancouver Island experiences a milder, maritime climate compared to the mainland, with cooler temperatures and more rainfall. This climate, along with well-drained soils, offers the ideal conditions for growing grapes with vibrant acidity and intense flavours.

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Cool-climate varietals such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris thrive in these conditions, and many wineries are also producing high calibre sparkling wines with these grapes.  We’ll toast to that!

Once on the island you’ll realize just how many fabulous wineries are ready to be explored.  Below we outline the top wineries of Vancouver Island.

1: Averill Creek Vineyard:

Located in the Cowichan Valley, Averill Creek Vineyard is one of the island’s most renowned wineries. They produce exceptional Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Maréchal Foch wines, to name a few. The vineyard’s picturesque location, set against the backdrop of the Vancouver Island mountains, makes it a must-see destination.  Averill Creek Vineyard has earned a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality wines that capture the essence of the island’s terroir. 

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A visit to Averill Creek Vineyard offers a delightful and educational experience for novices and experts alike.  The vineyard’s picturesque location makes it a perfect spot for wine tasting and taking in the natural beauty of the Cowichan Valley. 

To be considered on our list of top wineries of Vancouver Island, it’s about more than just the wine. Averill Creek delivers with its sleek, modern concrete exterior.  While the edgy exterior is matched by a sleek tasting room, the delight is in discovering their outdoor picnic facilities, which feel much like your own secret garden.  What better setting to sip and savour their wines alongside a masterfully prepared charcuterie platter, overflowing with local goods. All this to say, Averill Creek is one you won’t want to miss!

2: Blue Grouse Estate Winery:

As with Averill Creek, you will be speechless as you enter the second winery on our list of top wineries of Vancouver Island, Blue Grouse Estate Winery. A little slice of paradise all its own, known for its sustainable farming practices, Blue Grouse Estate Winery has left no stone unturned in their efforts to leave the world a better place.  Which is why one of the first natural beauties you’ll discover is the pond just next to their front entrance, teeming with wildlife.  And here’s a fun fact — Blue Grouse is home to 30 beehives that help pollinate their plants! 

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The biodiversity surrounding Blue Grouse Estate is beneficial not only for the vineyards but for the community at large.  When it comes to their wines, Blue Grouse Estate Winery will surely impress with their portfolio, including Pinot Noir, Ortega, and Bacchus to name a few.

Offering stunning views of the surrounding vineyards, there is perhaps no more luxurious way to spend an afternoon than in one of their cabanas, enjoying a guided tasting by an expert tasting associate while taking in the vineyard views and gentle breeze. 

While you’re there, you may as well indulge in a heaping board of meats, cheeses, nuts, local crackers and jams.  If you find yourself there on an especially hot day, treat yourself to one of their slushies — adults only! Always a fan favourite, Blue Grouse Estate Winery is routinely listed as one of the top wineries of Vancouver Island.

3: Unsworth Vineyards:

Situated in the Cowichan Valley, Unsworth Vineyards focuses on producing high-quality wines with a French flair and is truly a hidden gem among British Columbia’s wine producers. Their picturesque estate combines winemaking excellence with a deep appreciation for culinary arts, offering a unique and immersive experience for visitors. Celebrated for its French-inspired wines, their portfolio includes sparkling wines, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

The winery’s serene ambiance adds to the overall experience, making it a place you’ll want to unwind for the entire afternoon.  A visit to Unsworth Vineyards is an experience that combines wine, food, and the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. The welcoming tasting room provides the perfect setting to sample their wines.

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Unsworth Vineyards is also celebrated for its on-site restaurant, aptly named The Restaurant at Unsworth Vineyards, which features a farm-to-table approach.   Focused on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, it should come as no surprise that their culinary offerings beautifully complement their wines. 

During the warmer months when the patio is open, you’ll want to stop by and enjoy a pizza from their authentic outdoor forno oven. The estate offers scenic views of the vineyard and surrounding landscape, making it the ideal spot to enjoy wine and food, and perhaps even a leisurely stroll through the vineyards.

4: Rocky Creek Winery:

Big on charm, number four on our list of top wineries of Vancouver Island is Rocky Creek! The true definition of a family-owned and operated vineyard, Rocky Creek Winery welcomes you with hospitality that is unparalleled.  This intimate spot is perfect for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience. 

Mark and Linda Holford pursued a dream and 15 years later, feel right at home as winery owners.  Their award-winning Pinot Gris is only one of the many reason sto visit!  A knowledgeable staff member will engage you with a history of the winery, interesting facts about the wine, and an enthusiasm that is contagious.

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On a beautiful day, you’d be remiss not to enjoy their intimate outdoor area.  As it is a licensed picnic area, guests are encouraged to bring their own picnics to enjoy with a bottle of Rocky Creek wine.  Furry friends are welcome!

5: Enrico Winery:

Situated on a picturesque 50-acre estate, Enrico Winery grows 8 different varietals of grapes, a testament to the amazing micro-climate they are fortunate enough to enjoy.  The grapes grown on site range from fruity whites to full-bodied reds, and include white grapes like Ortega, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, and red grapes like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Libre, and Cabernet Foch (a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Marechal Foch). 

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Offering one of the most diverse portfolios in the province, Enrico Winery continues to gain traction with the wine loving public and holds the number five spot on our list of top wineries of Vancouver Island.

With award-winning wines, including the first prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines to be awarded on Vancouver Island, a tasting at Enrico Winery is an absolute must. 

The cherry on top of it all is their expansive patio, perfect for enjoying your favourite bottle of wine with friends while taking in the breathtaking views.  Undoubtedly, your trip to Vancouver Island wouldn’t be complete without a stop to Enrico Winery!

6: Zanatta Winery:

The smallest winery listed on our top wineries of Vancouver Island, Zanatta Winery is a unique spot, standing out for the use of classical and traditional methods.  Established in the 1980s by the Zanatta family, this winery has carved a niche for itself by producing exceptional wines and for being the first on Vancouver Island to produce Champagne-style wines.

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Rooted in the Zanatta family’s Italian heritage and their desire to bring a touch of Italy to the fertile landscapes of Vancouver Island, the first vines were planted in the late 1980s.  Their portfolio of wines today include Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Ortega, and Auxerrois, as well as Carmine and Pinot Noir to name a few. 

Their Tradizionale Brut, made in the classic method, employ estate-grown, hand-harvested Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with rich toasty notes and delicate bubbles.  We’ll toast to that!

7: Church & State Winery:

Well known in the Okanagan Valley wine region, their sister property is a staple of the top wineries of Vancouver Island. Located only 15 minutes from downtown Victoria on the picturesque Saanich Peninsula, this winery has gained a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality wines in a breathtaking setting. 

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Offering a diverse and impressive wine portfolio, you can expect to be wowed with varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and a red blend they playfully call their Lost Inhibitions Red. 

What’s more, here you get to enjoy the best of both worlds, as wines from both their Vancouver Island and Okanagan Estate Vineyards are poured!  A visit to Church and State Wines in Victoria provides a memorable wine-tasting experience in a stunning setting. 

Visiting the top wineries of Vancouver Island is a unique experience. With an abundance of vineyards to explore, submerse yourself in a tasting and learn about the wines poured, or enjoy a guided tour for insights into the vineyards and the island’s winemaking history. These tours are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the island’s wine culture while enjoying the stunning landscapes.

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Vancouver Island’s culinary scene complements its wine culture. Many of the properties listed as the top wineries of Vancouver island have onsite restaurants or partner with local chefs to offer delicious food pairings with their wines. This farm-to-table approach ensures that the culinary experience is as exceptional as the wines themselves. The local seafood, artisan cheeses, and fresh produce all contribute to a rich and diverse gastronomic adventure.

The wineries of Vancouver Island are more than just places to taste exceptional wines. They are gateways to the island’s unique natural beauty and vibrant culture. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply looking for a memorable and scenic experience, a visit to Vancouver Island’s wineries is a journey into the heart of this breathtaking region.

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With its diverse terroir, cool-climate varietals, and passionate winemakers, Vancouver Island is undoubtedly a wine lover’s paradise worth exploring. So, the next time you find yourself on the west coast of Canada, be sure to raise a glass to Vancouver Island’s burgeoning wine scene.

Most of the wineries listed above can be visited on the #1 Victoria Wine Tour.

Top Wineries Of Vancouver Island