Located in the central part of Vancouver Island are three small but very productive wineries. Established in 2011 near Nanaimo is Millstone Estate winery. Nanaimo-based Noble Beast Wines is a virtual winery and the third located on Morningstar Farm alongside Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, MooBerry Winery produces a selection of high-quality fruit wines.
Located on the banks of the Millstone River. The owner and winemaker is Dale Shortt. Dale obtained the property in 2001. After clearing the land, Shortt realized his property literally soaked in sunshine – in summertime it often registers several degrees warmer than other parts of the city. He purchased 6,000 grapevines and planted them on 2.5 hectares.
The winery is often refereed to as Nanaimos best kept secret. The winery has 5 acres of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ortega, Pinot Gris, and Marechal Foch.
There is still work to be done The heritage home on the property will be renovated, to go along with its new and expansive country-style veranda for customers to sit and look over the vines as they roll down a gentle hill toward the Millstone River.
Noble Beast is a collaborative project between husband and wife Julian and Lisa Bakker. The passion for wine came about during their honeymoon when they visited the Okanagan in 2003.
They have property near Nanaimo which they are developing in the mean time the wines are made by Mark Simpson at his BC Wine Studio in Okanagan Falls. The winery’s name has a simple origin. He and Lisa own a Boston terrier which they call Noble Beast.
Wine review by John Schreiner
Noble Beast Gewürztraminer 2012 ($20.50). Made in a European style, the wine begins with spicy fruit aromas. These lead to grapefruit flavours in a rich texture and dry finish. 88.
Noble Beast Merlot Cabernet 2011 ($27). This wine begins with aromas of vanilla and red fruit. On the palate, there are flavours of black cherry, blackberry and raspberry. The firm texture suggests this wine will cellar well; with decanting, it is already approachable. 88-90.
Have a successful Cheese farm add a successful fruit winery! Nestled in the shadow of Mt. Arrowsmith, and home to Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and MooBerry Winery, Morningstar Farm offers an abundance of family fun. With self-guided tours, festivals & events, lots of farm animals to see & pet, a fantastic picnic area, a trail to stroll around the 68 acres and, of course, wine and cheese tastings. The Morningstar Farm is a wonderful place for the family to visit.
Their signature wine is is Blackberry
MooBerry Winery is owned by Phil & Laura Charlebois and Clarke & Nancy Gourlay. Phil Charlebois is the winemaker