We have been to this beautiful Island a number of times. We would go more often if it wasn't for the high ferry cost and schedule. It is home to one of Canada's most enchanting wineries Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards located at 6621 Harbour Hill Drive.
Pender Island is located in the Gulf of Georgia, just north of the American San Juan Islands, and in between Vancouver on the mainland and Sidney and Victoria on Vancouver Island. The largest Southern Gulf Islands are comprised of Galiano Island, Gabriola Island, Mayne Island, Saturna Island, Salt Spring Island and the Pender Islands. These islands are accessible by ferries from both Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Sidney (Swartz Bay). Airlines also service these islands.
Pender Island consists, in fact, of two islands, North Pender and South Pender, but that was not always so. In 1902 a canal was dredged to allow easy access between Bedwell Harbour and Port Browning creating the islands as we now know them. It wasn’t until a one lane bridge was constructed in 1955 that one could get from one to the other easily.
With a population of more than 2,500, Pender is large enough to provide many services, among them a bank, a liquor store, and grocery stores and a winery. Most are located on North Pender Island. Galleries and gift shops scattered throughout the island offer paintings, photographs, antiques, pottery, clothing, crafts and books by local authors. The outdoor enthusiast is served by a challenging nine-hole golf course, the Gulf Islands’ only disc park, tennis courts, kayaking and diving outfits and a variety of other sports. There are many beaches and parks on the islands, some with hiking trails such as Mount Norman on South Pender and George Hill trail on North Pender.
We like to visit Pender Islands only winery. Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyard. From various point s in the vineyard you can see Mayne Island and the vineyards on Saturna Island. The upper vineyard beside the Winery terraces up to Mount Menzies, while the lower vineyard cascades down to the beach. Both vineyards were planted in 2002 and include; Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega, Marechal Foch, Leon Millet, Schonburger and more recently Siegerrebe.
Sea Star Vineyards is also a developing farm, and our 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, generally not more than 24” tall, and well-suited to vineyard and orchard grass and weed control. Our amorous ram is Dolce, (meaning “sweet” ) and his buddies are Brut and Riesling; our ewes are Gamay, Verdot, and Ortega. Hudson is our “Platinum Retriever“ who will welcome you when you arrive - David Goudge the “hands on” Proprietor.
Sea Star Vineyard’s Winery offers a great indoor venue for many events including weddings, art exhibits and musical events and plays. This opportunity extends out onto the garden patio and further onto the adjoining lawn and herb garden. Within the vineyard there are several great locations for events as well all offering spectacular vistas of the sea.
Spectacular tasting and indorr faciities
The winemaker is Ian Baker. Who comes to the winery with a very successful career behind him. A testament to the winery and Ian is the fact that Sea Star has completely sold out of their wine.
Pender photographer Jacquie MacDonald says To see the beauty in the air, the ocean and on land," "take a few quiet seconds to let it all sink in." Good advise as you sip wine on Sea Stars' Patio.