Destination BC/Andrea Johnson

Garry Oaks Vineyard & Winery


Regional Maps
Planning your BC Wine Tour
Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands The Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands wine industry has really come into its own in the last 30 years. It is the second largest wine growing area in the province in terms of winery numbers. This is actually two distinct regions. Vancouver Island is recognized as having its own unique terroir, with the wineries there being sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by nearby mountains, and is one of the province’s nine main Geographical Indications (GI). There are more than 30 wineries here, with about 430 acres of planted vineyard. The Gulf Islands is teeny in comparison, yet is a separate GI. Located in the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, several islands are home to a smattering of wineries, meaderies and cideries. There are just under 100 acres of grapes planted throughout these islands. Vancouver and the Gulf Islands have a longer growing season compared to other regions as their proximity to the Pacific Ocean means there is a lower risk of frost in the spring and fall and little or no snow in the winter. These areas are more suitable for growing aromatic whites and lighter-style reds. But fine wines are also being made from tree fruits, berries and honey. Many island producers purchase grapes from the Okanagan to make fuller-bodied wines. Agritourism is very strong on the islands with a focus on the 100-mile diet and organics.They are magical places where growing and food production is often family-based and deeply passionate. You’ll find roadside stands and farm-gate shops offering up fresh local produce, honey, spring lamb, cheeses, baked goods, preserves and, of course, wine. There are multiple wineries on the big island mostly concentrated in the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley, which are blessed with microclimates that are drier and more favourable to winegrowing then one might think on the “wet coast.” You’ll find another several wineries on the neighbouring gulf islands of Saturna, Thetis, Hornby, Salt Spring and Quadra. The lifestyle on the islands is laid-back, carefree, unhurried, unpretentious, artistic and that is apparent in their approach to wines. This area is a naturalist’s dream with natural wonders galore – cliffside hiking trails, Garry oak ecosystems, sandstone formations. Adventure lovers can partake in experiences unique to the coast such as ocean kayaking and diving, deep sea fishing and whale watching tours. Urban dwellers can opt to stay in Victoria, a beautiful seaside city with a central harbour and an Old World charm. The area teems with heritage architecture and stunning garden displays. It’s a place here high tea is a ritual and a laid-back attitude is a must. It’s an ideal spot for a romantic getaway complete with horse-drawn carriage rides and fine seaside dining.
Common Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Ortega, Marechal Foch Average Daily High Temperature (July) - 20C Average Annual Rainfall - 583 mm Annual Hours of Sunshine - 2109