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
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.
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!