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Cowichan Valley BC wine

The estate vineyard.

Venturi-Schulze is a highly original winery found in the recently designated sub-Geographical Indication (“sub-GI”) of the Cowichan Valley, located on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Our discovery of Venturi-Schulze is a bit of a surprise: we are two British Columbians who had never heard of it until we discovered it in, of all places, the United States.

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Cowichan Valley bc wine

Bailey Williamson.

The Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is the most challenging wine-growing district in British Columbia, Canada. Earlier this year, it was named the Province’s newest Sub-GI (Geographical Indication) for its unique terroir consisting of Canada’s only cool Mediterranean Maritime climate, mild and damp winters, and distinct soils. Blue Grouse Estate winemaker Bailey Williamson not only helped lead the charge in getting the Cowichan Valley officially recognized, he along with a handful of wineries in the area, is proving that this demanding growing area is capable of producing very good wine.

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Cowichan Valley: A Primer

Cowichan Valley: A Primer


Posted on Nov 18, 2020

cowichan Valley BC wine

Blue Grouse Estate Vineyards.

Vancouver Island is home to British Columbia’s newest sub-GI (Geographical Indication), the Cowichan Valley. Consisting of Canada’s only cool Mediterranean Maritime climate, mild and damp winters and distinct soils, this unique growing area is arguably one of the most challenging in the world pushing the boundaries of where grape growing is still possible.

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With COVID-19 currently keeping us grounded from overseas travel, we’re lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet that includes a world-class wine region. We headed back to the Okanagan Valley at the beginning of Harvest and visited 5 more wineries: Black Hills Estate, CheckMate Artisanal Winery, Phantom Creek EstatesPoplar Grove Winery, and Blasted Church. This video provides a few highlights of our conversations with their winemakers. Click on the individual links for the full story on each…cheers!

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smoke taint

The view from Poplar Grove’s winery in Penticton.

Our first visit to Poplar Grove was back in 2002, when we went up to the Okanagan Valley for a weekend of winetasting with another couple. Our friends knew then proprietors, Ian and Gita Sutherland, and knew they had a guest house on the back of the property that they rented out. We arrived early and went to a local wine store to buy a bunch of bottles of Okanagan wines to try, as at that time we didn’t know a lot about the region and their wines. It was a beautiful afternoon, so we took about 6 bottles out on to the deck of the guest house along with a couple of glasses and opened them all up and started tasting.

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