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British Columbia's Gulf Islands

Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards ~ Pender Island
Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards ~ Pender Island

Off Canada's West Coast lie the Gulf Islands, they are comprised of about one hundred islands spread between Vancouver Island and the southern British Columbia mainland. Thirteen of the islands are large enough to support homes and cottages. Saturna, Salt Spring, Quadra, Pender and Hornby Islands have wineries.

The Gulf Islands enjoy less than 30 inches of rain per year. Lying southwest of the Strait of Georgia, along the coast of Vancouver Island between Campbell River to the north and Victoria to the south, this necklace of islands is surrounded by sheltered waters, strong tides, and dramatic coastlines.

Denman Island

Charmingly serene Denman Island is a refuge for some 1,100 residents off the east-central coast of Vancouver Island. Denman Island’s agricultural history goes back 120 years. However, the island’s viticulture began only in 2006 with coincidental purchases of vineyard sites by the owners of Chateau Beaufort and Corlan

 


Chateau Beaufort Vineyards

4796 Lacon Road RR1
V0R 1T0
T 250.335.0019
www.chateaubeaufort.ca



 

The principals at Chateau Beaufort - Noble are Max Campill de Wedges and his partner, Linda Elgert. The vineyard is not named for the Beaufort Mountains (which can be seen off to the west on Vancouver Island) but for former European chateaux from Max’s convoluted genealogy. “Two old ladies of my ancestry, Blanche of Artois and Blanche of Lancaster, were the chatelaines of Beaufort in Champagne country,” Max says. “I have 1,000 years of tradition.”


Max was born in Portugal in 1949, studied chemical engineering but, following family tradition, became an officer in the Portuguese navy. He left his native land in 1972 for Montreal, choosing Canada because a great-grandmother had been a cousin of Lord Stanley, this country’s sixth Governor General. “That was a time when there was enormous political turmoil,” he says of Portugal. “I could see the revolution coming. I left two years before the revolution.” Settling in Vancouver two years later, he took up the career of claims adjuster with the provincial automobile insurer, putting aside his interest in wine, which is another family tradition.

In 2006 he and Linda, a former flight attendant, bought four hectares (10 acres) on the sunbathed west coast of Denman Island, bringing along four Maréchal Foch vines from their Vancouver balcony. That was the start of a vineyard planted since 2008 to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Max’s preferred noble varieties, and several Blattner varieties.
“I set 1,000 cases as my limit,” Max says of his winemaking plans. “I can produce 15 tons of good grapes here. That will give me 1,000 cases. I only want to produce the best. I will not compete with plonk.”

Winemaker: Max Campill de Wedges


Corland Vineyards

8441 McFarlane Road
Denman Island, BC  V0R 1T0.

 


Corlan Vineyard’s owners, Pat and Selwyn Jones, plan to make 1,000 cases as my limit 1.6-hectare (four-acre) planting, mainly of Maréchal Foch and Ortega. Their vineyard is on a south-facing slope not far from Chateau Beaufort. After clearing the forest from the slope, they planted in 2006, with about 5,000 vines that Selwyn propagated from cuttings in his own greenhouse.

Born in Wales in 1934, Selwyn spent a lifetime in plant propagation. After getting a diploma in horticulture, he began his career in Britain. The postwar government there was planting extensively to build a lumber resource for a future war. When that policy was shelved, Selwyn resumed his career in British Columbia in 1967. At the time, the forest ministry was propagating millions of trees and giving them without charge to the forest companies for replanting. In 1980, when the government decided it should sell seedlings, Selwyn opened his own firm, Sylvan Vale Nursery, at Black Creek on Vancouver Island. Now run by his daughters, Iola and Siriol, Sylvan Vale has grown to 46 greenhouses for propagating seedlings.

The word “Corlan” is a Welsh word meaning sheepfold. The label on their wines shows a stone circle enclosure – this is a corlan, a place where the sheep in Wales are brought for shearing and other attentions.


Selwyn was introduced to viticulture when some of the new Cowichan Valley wineries asked him for grapevines in the early 1990s. He estimates that he propagated as many as 20,000 vines a year.

Winemaker: Selwyn Jones

notes provided by John Schreiner

 

Saturna Island

The second largest of the Gulf Islands with the least population.

Saturna Island Family Estate Winery


Saturna Island, BC V0N 2Y0


The winery has closed. The vineyards were sold to Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards ~ Pender Island





Salt Spring Island

Largest and most populated of the Canadian Gulf Islands, 17 miles long x 9 miles wide. Salt Spring lies in the sheltered waters off the east coast of Vancouver Island, midway between Victoria and Vancouver BC. Salt Spring is accessible by three ferry routes and three scheduled airlines from Vancouver. Ganges is the primary village on Salt Spring and the location of most shops, stores, galleries and services.



Garry Oaks Winery

1880 Fulford-Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2A5

The winery was sold to Nalini Samuel in 2016

In recognition of her winery’s namesake and the huge old Garry oaks growing behind the wine tasting room, Nalini has decided to contribute a dollar from every person who does a wine tasting at the winery to GOERT.  She calls it “Put a cork in it” and each person is given a cork after the wine tasting which she or he puts into a glass vase under a poster board that illustrates the attributes of Garry oak ecoystems and how GOERT is moving to protect them.  Once a month, she will add up the corks and donate to GOERT. 

The winery does not wish to provide information

Winemaker: Elaine Kozak
Philosophy:

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Salt Spring Vineyards

151 Lee Road
at the 1700 block Fulford Ganges Rd
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2A5 


Set in the idyllic Fulford Valley, the coastal climate here allows for slow fruit ripening, ideal for crisp,delicious wines unique to the area. A well designed winery with beautiful vineyards and gardens located on the hillside over looking the Valley. The winery opened in 2002 .

The current owners are Joanne and Devlin McIntyre.  They started as hobby farmers near Abbotsford and were the founders of the Fraser Valley Wine Growers association. In 2008 they learned that  Salt Spring Island Vineyards was for sale.

The winery obtains 90% of their grapes from the Islands and produces around 2,500 cases The wines produced are: Pinot Gris, Aromata(a coastal white blend),Pinot Noirs,Millotage(Coastal red blend),Merlot, a traditionally-made champenoise Sparkler(Karma)and 2 dessert wines-Apple Pie and Blackberry Port. The most popular sellers are the BB Port and our award-winning Pn Reserve.
Winemaker Paul troop is responsible for introducing the Blattner vines to the Islands.

Winemaker: Paul Troop
Philosophy: I'd say that each place in the world that ‘can' grow grapes has some limits of viticulture potential. If the grape grower is honest and works to the best of that potential –leaving their ego behind  (not pursuing the varieties that will NOT work there) and putting ALL into growing the best they can, then the winemaker has the opportunity to work with some incredible fruit. From there it is a matter of assessing the potential in a given year and working towards the best balance that can be had. In our region we are often faced with low Brix, high acid, low pH grapes. This means learning how to manage acids while retaining incredible fruit potential. Interesting stuff.


Mistaken Identity Vineyards

164  Norton Road
Salt Spring Island B.C.   V8K 2P5    


This new winery(2009) was a partnership of six people. They are Ian and Wendy Bake, Dave and Lenora Baker, Cliff Broetz and Barb Steele.  The name comes from the expectations associated with the wine tasting experience. People were surprised that a wine this good could originate on Salt Spring Island. Ian and Wendy have moved on to Sea Star winery on Pender Island

Production of wine from certified organic grapes is a core strategy. The winery draws visitors to its property by sponsoring events such as the annual Salt Spring Jazz Festival.

Their vineyard is certified organic growing, Chardonnay, Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe, Pinot Gris, Ortega, and Reichensteiner. The reds, Agria, Leon Millot, Pinot Noir, and Zweigelt.

Signature wine: Abbondante Bianco

Winemaker: Jesse Cooper
Philosophy : we believe that skill, care and passion for our land and our craft will be evident in our offerings. Our care reveals itself in many ways

 

Thetis Island

The smallest and least populated of the Gulf Islands only 4 square acres and 350 residents.

 


Domaine Jasmin

444 Lakeview Road
Thetis Island






Denis Gagnon began working on his winery in 2004; located at the bottom of Moore Hill. He had to clear the land of trees and prepare for planting the vines. The First planting was done in 2006 250 Pinot Gris The first vintage was 2010.

The vineyard is managed organically – no pesticides or herbicides or fungicides

Winemaker: Denis Gagnon

 

Hornby Island

The Island has about 900 residents. Hornby Island also has more parks than any other Gulf Island including Helliwell Provincial Park, Big Tribune Provincial Park, Mount Geoffrey Regional Park and Fords Cove Marina.


Hornby Island Winery


7000 Anderson Drive
Hornby Island BC V0R 1Z0




Owned and operated by John Grayson who fulfilled a dream and a passion by starting his own winery The farm which he bought in 1999 has 19 acres on the south side of the island. There is very little rain here which makes it  an almost desert-like climate. Currently the winery is producing only fruit wines, future plans call for Pinot Gris and Leon Millot

Winemaker: Ron Taylor


Carbrea Vineyard

1885 Central Road
Hornby Island, BC V0R1Z0

 


Owned and operated by Suzie and Stephen Bishop, it was a dream of Stephen to have a winery.
Stephen and Suzie grew up on the Island before leaving to pursue their careers. They returned in 1990
when the opportunity presented itself to purchase some agriculture land they could not resist. The 4 acre vineyard was planted in 2002 and 2003. A selection of cool-climate varietals is grown here; Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Agria. The tasting room opened in 2006. The wineries name comes from a combination of their daughter's names from my daughters’ names, Carlyn and Breanna

Carbrea is planning to attain 100% estate grown grapes for their wines which will include planting another 3 acres to augment the current 4 acres. The winery is named after their two young daughters Carlyn and Breanna.

Signature wine: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer - Blackberry Dessert Wine

Winemaker: Stephen Bishop
Philosophy: meddle as little as possible


Little Tribune farm & winery

6160 Central Road
Hornby Island, BC V0R1Z0

 

 

In 2003 ,Larry Pierce and Margit, his partner, bought a farm near Hornby Island’s Little Tribune Bay. They planted about a hectare of blueberries and such vegetables as corn and potatoes. In 2008, they added 1.2 hectares (three acres) of organic grapes (Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc) and began developing this winery.

Larry wants to make the winery as eye appealing as possible to the Islands tourists. The new building is now open.

The winery has a one thousand square foot wine cellar, full of German made stainless steel tanks and special cooling equipment. The wine making method is the same practiced at the leading wineries in Germany. A cold fermentation process guarantees that all the flavour in the grapes will stay in the wine The winery, has the capacity to make about 1,200 cases a year.

Winemaker: Larry Pierce
Philosophy: Our focus is on high quality, crisp, white wines, organically grown grapes and blueberries.
It is a simple truth that products grown in healthy soil taste better

Pender Island

Pender Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands located in the Gulf of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada. Pender Island is approximately 34 km² in area and is home to about 2,500 permanent residents, as well as a large seasonal population


Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyard


6621 Harbour Hill Drive, Pender Island



This amazing property is one of the most beautiful vineyards in British Columbia with 26 acres terracing up to Mount Menzies and cascading down to the ocean. It owned by David Goudge . The name Sea Star represents the beach, that it is a gulf island winery and surrounded by the ocean, and a  "star" is what we aim our winery to become !

Experienced and knowledgeable winemaker is Ian Baker. 90% of the grapes used to make their wines are organically grown here on Pender Island.

Sea Star host the Wednesday Winery Market offering local fare including garden produce, fresh baking & preserves, fresh cut flowers and creations from island artisans. 

Signature wines: Aromatic white wines including Ortega, Siegerrebe, Gewürztraminer and Stella Maris – a blended Estate white wine aspires to live up to the name “Star of the Sea”. Estate grown Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega and Schönberger blended perfectly together.

Poetry – Estate red dessert wine is a blend of Maréchal Foch and Island blackberries. This wine lends support to the expression that wine is “Poetry in a bottle”.

Sea Star Vineyards is a developing farm, the Babydoll Southdown sheep are a popular attraction – the friendliest, best looking and most environmentally conscientious “lawn mowers” you’ll ever met. They are small stature sheep and well-suited to vineyard and orchard grass and weed control. You can’t get much more organic and sustainable than this ! Hudson is our “Platinum Retriever“ who will welcome you when you arrive. He takes his responsibility as official “Greeter” very seriously. His new companion is Hope, a Golden rescued by the SPCA and now enjoying the farm life.

In addition to grapes, the farm also grow a variety of fruit: kiwis, figs, honeyberries, blackberries, and raspberries.  Fruit trees include: sweet and tart cherries, apples, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines. When the California poppies are in bloom the hillsides are awash in orange blossoms.

Winemaker: Ian Baker
Philosophy: Great wine begins in the vineyard.
Clean, clean, clean in the winery. Creating small lots of premium wine. Wines that express the terroir that they are from.



Gabriola Island

Ravenskill Orchards


1240 Coats Drive
Gabriola, BC
V0R 1X4

 

 

The Gabriola Cider is owned by Keith and Marti MacKenzie. They began building their dream – an orchard of heritage apples on 27 acres in 2002. The brand name is Gabbie Cider.

They started with uncultivated scrub brush. Thy tilled the land and created our own locally sourced compost to feed the soil. They built a nursery and trellised rows for our unique stock of heavy fruiting dwarf trees. Finally they built a cider barn and roadside stand to sell our crop and ciders. The orchard has over 1,000 trees across two acres, with 25 different varieties of apples…

They will release their first cider summer 2015. Jonas Greig cider maker has produced two style of cider one Dry with the RS of 14g/l and a  Dry Dry cider of only 4g/l RS.

They make a sweet apple cider caramels

Cider-maker: Jonas Greig


Philosophy:


Lasqueti Island lies in the Georgia Strait, north of French Creek (on Vancouver Island), and southwest of Texada Island. It is approximately 8 km wide and 22 km long, with an area of 73.56 km2. About 425 permanent residents call Lasqueti home (2011 census). It is accessible by foot passenger ferry service only, or by private boat or plane.


Old Douglas Farm Winery


Lasqueti Island



 

The Old Douglas Farm, one of the original settlements on Lasqueti, is farmed by Mike Mundy and Cindy Craven. The Old Douglas Farm house on Lasqueti Island, near Parksville. This is the oldest inhabited building on the Island, with an 80 -100 year old wisteria plant that has grown over the house and tool shed to the right."

 

Winemaker:
Philosophy:



 

 

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