Destination BC/Andrea Johnson

Garry Oaks Vineyard & Winery


Regional Maps
Planning your BC Wine Tour
Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands In the summer of 2020, the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island became the latest sub-geographical indication recognized by the BC Wine Authority and the very first outside the Okanagan Valley. The significance of this means the valley can be identified on the labels of wines produced from that area and connects consumers with the unique geographic area and terroir and provides them with a sense of place. The Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands wine industry in general is unique in its own right. It is the second largest wine growing area in the province in terms of winery numbers but is distinct by way of location and growing conditions. Vancouver Island is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by nearby mountains, and is one of the province’s nine main Geographical Indications (GI). There are about 30 wineries here in the Comox Valley, central island, Cowichan Valley, and south island, with about 430 acres of planted vineyard. The Gulf Islands are small by comparison yet are considered a separate GI. Located in the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, several islands including Denman, Hornby, Pender and Salt Spring 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 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. Adventure lovers can partake in experiences unique to the coast such as ocean kayaking and diving, whale watching and deep sea fishing. Urban dwellers can opt to stay in Victoria, a beautiful seaside city with a central harbour and an Old World charm.
Common Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Ortega, Marechal Foch Average Daily High Temperature (July): 20C Annual Hours of Sunshine: 2109 Average Annual Rainfall: 583 mm Acreage: 530 Soil Type: Silty, gravelly, sandy clay, volcanic rock