The Cowichan Valley Wine Festival takes place August 1 to 31,and features 12 award-winning wineries in the Cowichan Valley. Tickets are $35 each and are on sale now for the passport-style event that allows ticket-holders to take a self-guided tour of Cowichan and the wineries. Ticket-holders will be served at least three tastings at each winery, including a mix of reds, whites, rosés, sparkling and Vancouver Island’s own bubbly Charme de L’Île, the local alternative to Prosecco.
The passport provides a map to each vineyard and after each tasting the passport is stamped by the winery. Passports with all 12 winery stamps can be submitted for a chance to win a case of Cowichan wine.
Participating wineries include: Averill Creek Vineyard, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, Cherry Point Estate Wines, Damali Lavender and Winery, Deol Estate Winery, Divino Estate Winery, Enrico Winery, Glenterra Vineyards, Rocky Creek Winery, Unsworth Vineyards, Venturi Schulze Vineyards and Vigneti Zanatta Winery.
This is the second year the festival will be held over 31 days instead of over a weekend, so guests can enjoy the area at their own pace and explore other gems in the Cowichan region. Guests can take a leisurely walk or hike on incredible trails, dine at one of many farm-to-table restaurants, visit attractions such as The Raptors or the Malahat Skywalk, or extend the beverage tour to include a local craft brewery, distillery or cidery.
“The Cowichan Wine Festival encourages residents and visitors alike to explore the Cowichan region and support the local economy by shopping, dining and staying overnight,” says Karen Bannister, director of destination marketing for Tourism Cowichan Society and Tourism Vancouver Island.
In 2020, the Cowichan Valley was recognized by the government of BC as a new sub-geographical indication (sub-GI), an official and protected term under law used to help consumers identify the origin of BC wines. Defining geographic zones on wine labels connects consumers with the unique geographic area where the grapes are grown and the wine is made, and increases exposure to the region for both wine and tourism businesses.
There are nine official geographical indications in the province and five sub-geographical indications. The Cowichan Valley is the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan.
“Recently the Cowichan Valley stepped firmly out of the shadow of the Okanagan,” says Chris Turyk DipWSET, marketing director and sommelier at Unsworth Vineyards.
“Attaining the first sub-GI approval outside of the Okanagan, garnishing investment from global leaders in the wine industry and with a continuing strive for improvement, the island keeps turning heads. With vineyard acreage totalling less than some BC wineries, this small region occupies a disproportionately large volume of the Canadian wine conversation. Why? World-class wines.”
All wineries comply with the provincial health officer’s guidelines and restrictions to ensure a safe environment for guests and staff.
Find tickets and festival information at tourismcowichan.com/cowichan-valley- wine-festival/