Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are considered BC's "other" wine region next to the more popular Okanagan Valley (which is a four hour drive North of Vancouver).‚ Ten years ago, there were only seven licensed wineries on the Wine Islands and today there are 35.‚ These areas comprise the warmest growing region in Canada. The land yields aromatic wines reminiscent of northern Europe.‚ The region also boasts near-perfect conditions for growing premium quality cider apples. The Cowichan Valley - 45 minutes north of Victoria - mirrors the climate and soil conditions of the famous cider-growing regions of England and France. I wish we had time to visit there, because the list of places I had to get to included some very tempting eating and drinking options.
For more information visit www.wineislands.ca, but here's a list of places to visit if you make it to the area near Cowichan:
True Grain Bread & Mill Cowichan Bay Village, Phone: 250-746-7664 www.truegrain.ca Renowned organic breads handcrafted from freshly stone milled heirloom grains.
Hilary's Fine Cheeses Cowichan Bay Village, Phone: 250-748-5992 www.hilarycheese.com Tours can be arranged to view nearby cheese making operation. Wed-Mon 9-5pm.
The Udder Guy's Ice Cream Parlour Cowichan Bay Village, Phone: 250-746-4300 www.udderguysicecream.com
Cherry Point Vineyards 840 Cherry Point Road, Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L0 Phone: 250-743-1272 Fax: 250-743-1059 www.cherrypointvineyards.com
Merridale Estate Cidery 1230 Merridale Road Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L0 Phone: 250-743-4293 Fax: 250-743-9310 www.merridalecider.com
My kids really liked these two activites, which had nothing to do with eating:
Kayaking in the harbor Ocean River Sports (Jeanette was our guide, and she couldn't have been nicer) 1824 Store Street Victoria, BC V8T 4R4 Phone: 250-381-4233 Fax: 250-361-3536 www.oceanriver.com
Royal BC Museum 675 Belleville Street Victoria, BC‚ ‚ V8W 9W2 Phone: 250-387-2101 Fax: 250-387-8197 www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca (Tomorrow, it's back on the ferry, and over to Vancouver...)