These are our Favourite Cowichan Wineries
In Alphabetical Order
Averill Creek Vineyards
Founded by Andy and Wendy Johnston in 2001, Averill Creek Vineyards occupies an enviable setting in the picturesque Cowichan Valley so bring your cameras. Nestled in 30 acres of grapevines on the southeast slopes of Mount Prevost, the vineyard is surrounded by old growth forest. This is an estate winery producing wild fermented wines, meaning that their wines have no added enzymes or nutrients. The majority of the grapes used are grown on the estate with a very small percentage being sourced from within 2 km of the vineyard.
The vineyards at Averill Creek benefit from the unique microclimate of the Cowichan Valley, which offers a longer growing season and milder winters compared to other parts of Canada. This climate, combined with meticulous farming practices and sustainable viticulture, allows Averill Creek to produce top-quality grapes that form the foundation of their exquisite wines.
The winery’s signature wines include Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, each expressing the distinctive terroir of the region. Averill Creek’s dedication to crafting high-quality wines has earned them numerous accolades and a loyal following among wine enthusiasts.
Visitors to Averill Creek Vineyards can enjoy breathtaking vineyard views and guided tours in a welcoming and charming setting. Tastings range from a selection of red and white wines on the terrace for those who want to enjoy the ambience among friends, to a guided experience for those interested in the history and methods of wine production on the estate.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard
Established in 2012 in Duncan in the Cowichan Valley, this boutique winery is named for the native blue grouse birds living in the area. This must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts focuses on cool-climate varietals like Ortega, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris as these grape varieties thrive in the temperate climate and produce elegantly delicious wines.
Visitors to Blue Grouse are treated to a scenic experience, with a welcoming tasting room that offers a stunning panorama of the vineyards. The tasting experience starts with a guided tasting of five wines by knowledgeable and friendly servers. Enjoy a tasting inside or out; order a charcuterie board, or bring your own picnic.
Groups are welcome and other events include the Grape to Glass Tour and the seasonal tastings. This winery is one of Vancouver Island’s busiest and most requested so don’t forget to make reservations!
Blue Grouse Winery’s philosophy of “stewardship” reflects its commitment to leaving everything better than they found it. The winery’s dedication to sustainability is evident in its eco-friendly viticulture practices. Underlining its commitment to preserving the environment, a 10 acre Nature Reserve has been set aside for the numerous bird, bee, and animal species that call the area home. Blue Grouse embodies the Cowichan Valley’s growing reputation as a quality wine-producing region.
Cherry Point Estate Wines
Planted on 34 acres on a former mink ranch in Cobble Hill, Cherry Point winery got its start planting vines in 1990, and producing its first wine in 1994. One of the first licensed wineries on Vancouver Island, the estate produces a variety of grape varietals, including Ortega, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Marechal Foch.
Today, Xaviera and Maria Clara, the owners, love to share their knowledge and passion for their craft. Following the European philosophy of “the earth making the wine”, the farm produces award winning wines that reflect the vineyard’s unique character.
Tastings of bold reds, crisp whites, and dessert wines are sure to tickle the palate and are accompanied by knowledgeable staff who can answer any questions and recommend food pairings.
La Terraza at Cherry Point is the winery’s fabulous bistro offering West Coast cuisine on the patio surrounded by pastoral views of grape vines, beautiful gardens, and majestic cedar trees. When the weather cools, the patio closes and the fireplace inside the garden pavilion heats up! Cherry Point hosts a variety of events from casual lunches for two to business meetings and social functions including intimate weddings.
Make sure Cherry Point is on your tour of the Cowichan Valley’s wine country!
Damali Lavender and Winery
A unique winery in the Cowichan Valley, Damali Winery in Cobble Hill nestles among 12,000 lavender plants representing 25 varieties of lavender. Although it remains a thriving lavender farm, Damali has been showcasing its signature fruit and lavender wine blends since their first wines were created in 2011.
Damali grows its own grapes and blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, and black currants and all are used in their wine production. The vineyard’s varietals include Cabernet Libre, Castel, Siegerrebe, and Pinot Noir. Give their lavender/rhubarb wine blend a try!
In the Tasting Room the knowledgeable staff are eager to share their insights and expertise with visitors. Their wine tastings are more than just a sip and swirl; they’re a journey into the art and science of winemaking. It’s an opportunity to learn about the wines, the winemaking process, and the region’s unique attributes.
Events at Damali include wine and lavender pairings, self guided tours, wedding venues, a labyrinth to explore, and even the opportunity to participate in the lavender harvest.
Add to this a licensed picnic area where visitors can enjoy their wine surrounded by the sights and soothing scents of lavender fields, in full bloom from late spring through the summer months.
Visit their gift shop and take home your own little piece of home-grown Damali products.
No wine tour would be complete without a visit to Enrico Winery. Located in Mill Bay, the 50-acre estate winery grows eight different varietals of award-winning red, white and rose wines, and is the recipient of the first Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in B.C. Wines awarded on Vancouver Island. Under the stewardship of the Lanzarotta family, Enrico’s wines have garnered 30 awards since 2000.
While their Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are standout wines, don’t miss their famous Cowichan Blackberry dessert wine! This lusciously sweet wine is a true local delicacy, featuring the succulent flavors of ripe blackberries that thrive in the region. It’s a dessert wine that captures the essence of the Cowichan Valley’s natural abundance.
Enrico Winery’s tasting room provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors to savour their exceptional wines. Guests can enjoy a personalized tasting experience of a 6 pour of red, white, and sparkling wines at the indoor barrel tables or go outside. Outdoor picnic tables beckon visitors to take in the panoramic views of the vineyards, the pond, the gazebo, and surrounding landscapes. On the weekends, you can enjoy live music!
The winery also hosts private events, making it an ideal venue for celebrations, corporate gatherings, and weddings. With its stunning vineyard views and charming ambiance, Enrico Winery offers an enchanting setting for special occasions.
Merridale Cidery and Distillery
Located in Cobble Hill, the family-owned and operated Merridale Cidery and Distillery has been crafting exceptional artisanal ciders and spirits for over two decades. Janet Docherty and Rick Pipes purchased the property in 1999 with a vision to create an authentic craft cidery that honoured the traditions of cider production.
Merridale is famous for its artisanal ciders, and their orchard boasts a variety of apple and pear trees, including heritage varieties. From dry and crisp ciders to sweet and sparkling ones, their cider collection caters to a wide range of palates.
As BC’s first craft distillery, Merridale produces high-quality gin, brandy, and other specialty spirits. Their craft distillery is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and the distillation process is carefully overseen to ensure the production of spirits that meet their exacting standards.
Merridale’s tasting room is a welcoming and rustic space with a friendly, easy going atmosphere where knowledgeable staff members guide guests through tastings, providing insights into the unique characteristics of each product. Merridale offers flights of 3 to 5-ounce tastings. You can create your own flight.
The MyGo Cheers tour bus will bring groups of up to 10 people to Merridale and will spend an hour for tasting, or a bit longer if you want lunch.
Visitors can also enjoy guided tours of the orchard, cider house, and distillery. These tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Merridale’s ciders and spirits are brought to life.
The cidery is also known for its live music performances, where visitors can enjoy the harmonious blend of great music, delicious beverages, and the stunning Cowichan Valley scenery.
Rocky Creek Winery
Situated in the beautiful seaside town of Cowichan Bay, Rocky Creek Winery was founded by Linda and Mark Holford in 2004 on the site of a historic farm with a rich agricultural heritage dating back to the 1850s. Today, nine acres of grapes produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Siegerrebe, Marechal Foch, Kerner wines among others. The vineyard was designed and operates with the best practices of sustainability in mind.
With 110 medals to date, Rocky Creek is the most awarded winemaker on Vancouver Island! Try out their famous wild blackberry wine harvested by hand. In addition to its white, red, and sparkling wines, Rocky Creek is renowned for its dessert wines. The “Sea Legs” and “Drunken Apple” dessert wines are favorites among patrons. These sweet and luscious creations are made from locally sourced fruit and grapes.
Boasting a picturesque outdoor patio where guests can relax, sip wine, and soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards, the waterfall pond, and gardens, Rocky Creek is a tranquil and idyllic spot, perfect for picnics, wine tasting, and special events. The winery offers stand up tastings hosted by knowledgeable staff keen to tell you everything you want to know about their wines, their methods, and their facilities.
Once the Tasting Room is closed for the season, Rocky Creek invites visitors to special events celebrating the holiday season.
Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of the Cowichan Valley, Stillhead Distillery stands as a testament to the art and science of crafting exceptional spirits. The Colebank family, driven by a love for the craft and a commitment to local sourcing, set out to create a distillery that would not only produce exceptional spirits but also contribute to the community’s cultural and economic fabric.
This boutique distillery began offering its unique blends to patrons in October 2017, and in a relatively short period of time, they earned a reputation for producing high-quality, handcrafted spirits. With a mission “to create bold and expressive spirits that give others the chance to experience a taste of the little island we call home”, Stillhead embodies the spirit of artisanal craftsmanship.
The distillery offers a diverse range of spirits, using handpicked, local berries from the Cowichan Valley. From its signature Wild Blackberry Gin and Blackberry Rye Whisky, to its Rhubarb Gin and Apple Brandy, Stillhead has something sure to cater to the discerning palates of its patrons. Try the one of a kind, Van-Isle Rye Vodka, unique in Canada! Can’t get enough blackberry? Don’t miss their award winning Wild Blackberry Vodka.
Intrigued? Stillhead offers one hour tours conducted by knowledgeable staff who share insights into the distillation process and the unique characteristics of each spirit. You’ll get the inside intel on what it takes to go from grain to glass. You can also tour the barrel library, and taste the next release before everybody else!
While MyGo Tours visits wineries and brewpubs on their tours we are also happy to stop in and have a tour with Stillhead. Just ask us to add it to your places to visit.
Unsworth Vineyards in Mill Bay is the realization of the passionate vision of the Turyk family who built Unsworth “one vine, one bottle, one blend at a time”. Beginning with Marechal Foch, planted in 2007, today there are 12 acres of grape varieties at Unsworth including Blattner, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.
A certified organic vineyard, Unsworth uses natural farming techniques and sustainable practices to ensure they produce the very best grapes possible. Unsworth is known for its Pinot Noir as well as its Pinot Gris and Ortega wines.
Visitors to Unsworth Vineyards are in for a treat. The winery offers a charming tasting room with knowledgeable and welcoming staff who guide guests through a delightful wine-tasting experience. A flight of five wines is offered amidst tranquil surroundings with views of the vineyards and gardens. Enjoy a wine and cheese pairing, a guided tour and tasting, or just crack open a bottle, grab some snacks and relax in the picnic area.
In addition to wine tastings, Unsworth Vineyards features a farm-to-table restaurant that serves delectable dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. This culinary experience perfectly complements their wines and provides visitors with an opportunity to indulge in the region’s culinary delights.
Let MyGo Cheers make all reservations for lunch and wine tastings, and we’ll ensure your wine tasting tour goes off without a hitch.
Valley Cider Company
Just north of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley lies a 27 acre farm of green pastures, picturesque hills, spring water creeks, and maple, fir and cedar forests. This is the home of the Valley Cider Company. Established in 2018, Valley Cider is a relative newcomer to the region.
Dedicated to the craft of cider production, Valley Cider’s farm to bottle cider celebrates the unique taste of cider created from apples grown in the Cowichan Valley. Using apples from their own orchards as well as locally sourced organic botanicals and fruit, Valley Cider creates individual batches and then ages them for at least one year.
And speaking of unique, you have to celebrate the passion, the knowledge, the sense of humour, and the chutzpah that is the owner of Valley Cider, Bruce McKinlay. Anyone who creates ciders with names like “Soda Love Potion”, “Poiple”, “Thistle Dew”, “Love Child”, and “Wait, What?” has clearly got a sense of humour!
Bruce will usually lead the stand up tasting, imparting his wisdom on all things cider as long as you want to talk!
Zanatta Estate Winery
Zanatta Winery came about almost by accident. Its founder, Dionisio (Dennis) Zanatta, came to Canada in the 1950s from Italy and purchased a 120 acre dairy farm in the Glenora area of the Cowichan Valley. Dennis’ hobby of growing grapes and making wine grew from a small plot for his own use to expanding and experimenting with different hybrids, to helping establish the Vancouver Island wine making industry.
The 5 acres of grapevines he planted in 1986 are now 25 acres, and the basis of the small estate farm winery still operated by the family. The rest of the farm is pasture, hay fields, forest and old fruit orchards.
Today, Zanatta Winery is known for producing a diverse range of red and white wines, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Ortega, and the unique, lesser-known variety, Madeleine Sylvaner. As a Certified Organic Vineyard, Zanatta is committed to sustainable farming and winemaking practices.
Zanatta offers a charming tasting room with friendly and knowledgeable staff who guide visitors through a five wine tasting journey. The tasting room itself provides a warm and inviting ambiance, with picturesque views of the surrounding vineyards. You can also sit out on the farmhouse porch while sampling the wines or take a walk in the orchard. Be sure to try their Pinot Gris; it’s one of the standout wines in their collection.
In addition to the tasting room, Zanatta Winery features a beautiful garden and patio area, which provides an idyllic setting for picnics and outdoor events. The winery often hosts special events, including live music and culinary pairings, which offer a perfect opportunity to relax and kick back.
Come visit the “First Family of Vancouver Island Wine.”