5 Saanich Peninsula Wineries | Reason #1 to Live on the Peninsula

Hello, fellow sommeliers! There’s something romantic about the idea of living next to rolling fields of grape vines and beautiful vineyard estates. Few locations in British Columbia can offer this picturesque setting as home, but here on the Saanich Peninsula, we are lucky to be one of them. The history of winemaking in the Saanich Peninsula dates back as far as 1920. Today, the moderate temperatures and seaside landscape of the Peninsula are home to many award-winning wineries.

My friends and family know I enjoy a nice glass of red or white. I’ve listed some of my favourite wineries in the Saanich Peninsula below. These local (and sometimes organic) wines are the among the top reasons to live on the Peninsula; the romantic vineyard dreams are closer than you think!

Church and State

Well-known even before being named producer of Canada’s Best Red Wine for five years in a row, Church and State is a beautiful winery located in Brentwood Bay just minutes from Butchart Gardens. Practice makes perfect, and they have plenty of opportunities to do that between their two locations, the second being in the Okanagan Valley. The winery, which has claimed to be the largest on Vancouver Island, is dedicated to the fine balance between change and tradition. Savour samples of award-winning wines in an elegant tasting room, while enjoying the tongue-in-cheek labels of their Lost Inhibitions Series (Eggplant.

De Vine Vineyards

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This 25-acre property originally sat on the peak of a fallow, overgrown ridge but has since turned it into a beautiful, organic vineyard located on Old West Saanich Road. Since 2007 de Vine Vineyards has quickly become the island’s largest planting of Grüner Veltliner, a luscious Austrian white used to make their iconic Grü V wine. Since then, de Vine has diversified the vineyard using organic traditions and techniques. Family-owned and operated, grapes are handled as little as possible to preserve their organic integrity. The tasting room provides guests with a flight of three wines, and a stunning view of Mount Baker to top it off. As an added bonus, the vineyard branched out into distilling spirits that you can sip alongside the wine.

Symphony Vineyards

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Since the late 1950’s this family has been farming this beautiful 20-acre land. Symphony Vineyards specialize in grapes to produce crisp, dry whites and rosés. Symphony also produces to strawberries and loganberries, which play into vineyard’s barrel-aged, fruit forward reds. On a sunny day, I can’t think of a better place to be than their patio taking in the stunning views over a glass of 100% Saanich-grown wine. Since the vineyard is a farm, it is also a great stop for farm fresh chutney, wine jelly, and jam.

Dragonfly Hill Vineyards

Dragonfly Hill Vineyards is quite literally one of the best-kept secret wineries on Vancouver Island. Located at the end of a historical wagon trail, the winery gets its name from the numerous, colourful dragonflies that call the vines home. The limited production is coaxed out of some of the oldest grapes on the Island – the vines were planted in 1993. Perhaps as special as the old vines themselves, the winery falls into the category of boutique wineries. With a local mindset, the wines are handcrafted and born of sustainable and organic farming methods. Paying this quaint tasting room makes for a perfect afternoon. Alternatively, many of their products can be found at any of Victoria’s Farmer’s Markets. Dragonfly Hill Vineyards has a limited supply, so stock up on your favourites while they last!

The Roost Farm Centre

Situated in the heart of North Saanich’s pastoral landscape, The Roost’s focus is on local food and wine and sustainability. The Roost rests on 10 acres of farmland where they grow many items used to produce the food served in the Roost Farm Bakery. The wines, which can be taste tested at the Vineyard Bistro include a Blackberry wine, a Siegerrebe, and a unique dessert wine known as The Laird’s Ginger Sweetheart.

I put together a Google Map that lists all of the wineries. Four of them are close together in Brentwood Bay!

Buying in Victoria BC’s Wild Real Estate market?

Buying property is one of the most important business decisions you can make. As with any business decision, it is ideal to buy low so your investment increases value over time. This can be exceptionally difficult in Victoria, British Columbia’s hot housing market. I have a few techniques to help you reach a better position for future value.

Purchase your property in a lesser developed area.

By purchasing in Victoria’s outlying neighbourhoods, where the area may not be fully developed, you have an opportunity to stumble upon some truly great deals with future value. With only so much room (land) on South Vancouver Island, the demand for land is always growing. Victoria is a highly sought after location to work and live and a retirement destination for all of Canada. Some outlying neighbourhoods might take some time to see the increase in value that are looking for but it is all just a matter of time. Call me to discuss different neighbourhoods that I think have major future value.

Buying the lowest priced home in the neighbourhood.

Easier said than done, but if you are looking for a big return on future value, look for a fixer upper home in a popular neighbourhood. Patience to find the right house and neighbourhood is key, be selective! It takes planning, vision and a little elbow grease, but the future value after you are complete is huge.  Attempting to buy the lowest priced home can be very competitive. Have your financing in place and organize an inspector to walk through with you before you make an offer. The less “subject to’s” in your offer, the more attractive to beat out the competition. Contact me for tips on Finding lower priced home’s NOT on the MLS or for tips on how to write attractive offers.

Buy ​a property ​in the development stage.

Maybe you are not interested in doing renovations and want to live close to town? Look at buying your property in the development or pre construction stage. Developers / Builders like to have their sales pipeline moving or would like to start planning on their next project. If you make an offer at this stage, you can (sometimes) get a discount off the price tag compared to the finished product price. There is much less flexibility towards a completed house or condo building. Be careful though on projects with long completion dates because if you buy too early and the real estate market conditions change, you are locked into that investment. Are looking for new construction? Let me know and I can discuss ideas with you!

Buying in ​Greater Victoria.

Buying Victoria BC Real Estate has been a safe investment for many years. If you plan to live in your home for 10-20 years, your timing will not matter.  These are just a few techniques to get ahead in the highly competitive Victoria, British Columbia real estate market, if you would like to spend more time brainstorming your options, please contact me to review your game plan. I look forward to hearing from you!


(250) 514-8261

Can You Really Predict Victoria BC Real Estate Pricing?

The Victoria BC Real Estate industry has been glorified for years to be one of the most lucrative career options available to the average person. I’m not going to lie, the idea of getting a home financed, improving its value, and then selling it for an amazing profit is pretty appealing. This concept has driven the industry and made it into what it is today. Some people have managed to make quite a career out of it (I chalk it up to good timing among other things) and have even built a considerable amount in their savings account. Others might not have fared so well. We’ve all heard the stories of the great investment, where people are touting their amazing fortune. What we rarely hear about is the bad investor who jumped the gun and ended up losing it all. These kinds of stories are actually more common than you know. The real estate industry isn’t as easy as those house flippers make it seem and there are a few things you should know before buying .

Before investing in Victoria BC real estate, it’s important to consider much more than just housing prices. Predicting how a property might sell is not just a matter of statistics. Making a decision based on averages alone is one of the worst ways to predict the value of a home, especially if you’re wondering whether a sale is going to be profitable. Real estate is about the buyer, not the property. Unfortunately, people are inherently fickle and it’s almost impossible to predict precisely what clients are willing to pay for a home.

One of the most common schools of thought about investing in a home is that bigger is better.  This might appeal to you if you’re investing in a home for a family, but if you’re just looking to flip a home, you should think otherwise. While it is true that bigger homes are more valuable, they also cost more to own and maintain. For an agent who wants to make a quick sale, major renovations can quickly start eating into profits. Smaller homes are a much smarter investment, especially for a first time home buyer. Maintenance is significantly less costly, property tax is less, and there’s less stress on the overall mortgage.

An agent with experience (wink wink nudge nudge) will know that market prices very rarely reflect the actual value of a home. In fact, most property assessments that are given by BC Assessment every year are lower than the current market value. That’s because the current market prices are an estimated price that a house will sell for, and it is based on current averages and the typical buyer for a property in that area. These averages are based on what an agent manages to sell a home for, not just what the property is worth.

There are times it may seem like the market has plateaued when in fact the numbers are based on old information. In just a few weeks the market could take a huge downturn. If you want to make a profit, you have to learn how to evaluate a property and understand what it’s really worth. Simply going by what similar properties are going for is not the only way. Ironically, it takes a deep understanding of property value to determine what a property value is. The only way to determine the value is to find out what the typical buyer is willing to pay, what lenders are willing to loan, and what the seller is willing to accept. Fortunately, I can walk you through evaluating any property, and can find you the right property for the right price!

I want to buy rental properties, now what?

So you’re thinking of investing in real estate. You hear about future development plans, prices soaring, and people moving on into the island. You’ve read about the low vacancy rates, and the quest for buying affordable homes, you know the demand is high, . But the decision to become a Victoria Real Estate investor isn’t easy, and it certainly gets harder as you start looking to purchase. I won’t sugar coat it for you, there’s a lot of work to do, even moreso if you’re a first time buyer. Being a landlord is tough, and the industry is filled with challenges that can affect returns. I’ve put together a list of my key things to consider when shopping for rental properties.


The quality of the surrounding neighborhood will affect tenant type and vacancy rates. If you purchase a property near a college, the probability that most tenants will be students is high. Knowing that many students come during the school season, and leave during the summer, it’s likely that summer vacancies will occur. On the bright side, you’ll have a large potential tenant market to draw from consistently. So if you’re looking for a hands off gig, with not a lot of turnover you might want to think of a different neighborhood as this would not be a passive investment.

Property Taxes

Property taxes vary by municipality, and as a property investor, a buyer should know how much income they’ll lose to taxes. Higher property taxes are not always a detriment if the neighborhood is full of long-term tenants, but that’s not always the case. The local municipality to which your property of interest belongs to will have the local tax info on file. Do some research, ask other homeowners in the neighborhood. Each year, BC Assessment sends property owners a Property Assessment Notice that tells the fair market value of the property. This information is used by taxing authorities which then determine the municipal and provincial property taxes owners need to pay. The assessment takes into account building permit approvals, zoning, location, size, layout, age etc.


According to the Rental Housing Index, approximately 8,760 renters in Victoria have children. Knowing that properties surrounding schools is high on the priority list for renters with children, school quality can be an important consideration. When a potential landlord finds a property near schools, they should check the quality of those schools as it can affect the investment’s value. Although monthly income is a primary concern, schools play a part in overall property values—which is an important consideration when it’s time to sell.

Crime Rates

No one should have to live in a high-crime area, but doing your research and understanding the neighbourhood you want to invest in is a smart move to do to make get you prepared. Public libraries and local police departments are a good source of crime statistics. Items to consider are serious crimes, petty crimes, vandalism rates and recent increases or declines in criminal activity. It’s also a good idea to discuss police presence in the neighborhood.

The Local Job Market

Places with abundant employment opportunities often attract more potential tenants. If new companies move to an area, that could mean fewer rental vacancies. However, an influx of new workers can cause real estate values to rise or fall, depending on the type of company moving in. If you’d like a company as a neighbor, chances are, a tenant would too.

Nearby Amenities


Check the new neighborhood for current or future malls, parks, gyms, theaters, public transport and other perks. Cities often have promotional brochures that can give new property owners an idea of the type and extent of public amenities.

Future Development and Building Permits

Municipal planning departments have information on future development. If there are new condominiums, industrial parks or shopping centers being built, it’s a good area for growth. However, certain new developments can affect the value of surrounding properties. New housing can provide competition for prospective renters, and property investors should consider that possibility.

Average Rent

Rental Income is the main part of owning a rental property, and the owner should know what the area’s average rental fees are. If that amount won’t cover the mortgage, property taxes and other costs, look elsewhere. New investors should research the area enough to get an idea of where it’s headed, so they can plan their financial future.

Every town has good neighborhoods and every neighborhood has good investment property, but it takes research and patience to find the ideal combination. When you find that property, keep your expectations realistic and ensure that you have the financial wherewithal to withstand a lull in cash flow. Investing doesn’t start with the purchase; it starts with creating a financial situation where the purchase is feasible.

5 Communities Where I Would Buy in Greater Victoria

Are you looking for a property in Greater Victoria and want to purchase in an up and coming neighbourhood? These five neighbourhoods are on the upswing in terms of sales and prices.

1) Royal Bay, Colwood

Royal Bay is a rare find for Vancouver Island. A 400 acre, 100-year-old gravel pit is being converted into a beautiful oceanfront community. This area is still in the beginning stages but is already attracting some major attention. Why? Because it provides stunning ocean views of the Olympic Mountains, Juan De Fuca Strait, and Downtown Victoria. Royal Bay is also minutes away from Olympic View Golf Course, Red Barn Market grocery store and many parks and trails. Approximately 25-minute drive to downtown Victoria. http://www.timescolonist.com/business/colwood-s-royal-bay-to-spawn-2-300-homes-1.2274147

2) Triangle Mountain, Colwood

Have you seen the best view in Victoria yet? Maybe you should make a point to drive up to Triangle Mountain. Similar views to Royal Bay, but the location is set higher up on a mountain. Vast water, city and valley views including Mt. Baker. Enjoy watching cruise ships dock at Ogden point and the night lights of downtown Victoria. Short drive to Westshore mall and approximately 25-minute drive to downtown Victoria.

3) Brentwood Bay

You have visited Butchart Gardens and maybe Brentwood Bay lodge, but have you explored the seaside community that surrounds these two spots? Brentwood Bay is the small town in Central Saanich that hugs the Todd Inlet. The inlet provides glass-like views of the water and stunning sunsets. Great for location for kayaking and walking, also very close to Gowland Todd and Mt. Work provincial Parks. Driving to Sidney or Downtown Victoria is approximately 15-20 minute drive either way on the Pat Bay which is a smooth moving highway with few traffic stops. http://www.explorevancouverisland.com/brentwood_bay_vancouver_island_bc.htm

4) Sidney

Locals might consider this location as the retirement city for BC, but locals need to shake that view. Almost all of Sidney is walking distance to the water. There are many fantastic restaurants to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sidney is also home to many jobs in manufacturing, BC Ferries and airport employment for many young people. Located very close to the BC ferries and airport. Approximately 25-minute drive to downtown Victoria. http://www.sidney.ca/

5) East Sooke, Sooke

Located next to one of the premier hiking trails in BC, this small community boasts incredible ocean and valley views. Very private acreages and is considered rural, but still quite close to Langford and not much farther to Victoria. Approximately 30-40 minute drive to downtown Victoria. http://www.eastsooke.com/