Birthday Celebrations at Averill Creek

Averill Creek is celebrating its 10th anniversary in style with the launch of a new sparkling wine, Charm d’Ile.

The first wines from Cowichan Valley’s Averill Creek Vineyard were made from the 2004 harvest. Over the last decade, Andy Johnston and his wife, Wendy, have built a reputation for premium wines and established Averill Creek as one of the leading lights of the Island. They have much to celebrate.

It’s been an interesting path. Andy was a physician in Edmonton and his “retirement” saw him embark on a series of working stints at wineries around the world. He laughingly claims that as a farm boy from Wales, he was simply returning to his roots. Involvement with the Opimian Wine Society grew his interest and love of wine; retirement was a great opportunity to follow that passion.

When Andy was ready to take the leap and set up his own winery, he started the search for the perfect site. The top criteria weren’t soils or topology. It was the insistence of his three daughters that it be somewhere on the west coast. Sensible girls. The family finally settled on the Cowichan Valley because of Andy’s love of pinot noir and the need to find a climate that’s suitable for this very fickle grape. The warm days and cools nights of summer and the long fall of the Cowichan Valley suited both man and vine.

Pinot noir continues to be Andy’s passion. The wines are modeled on the great wines of Burgundy and Andy strives to find a natural balance of ripeness and elegant fruit with bright acidity and soft, silky tannins. His Pinot Noir Reserve has received rave reviews and references France’s savoury aromatics.

We can thank Wendy for the recent expansion into bubbles. It’s not an easy segue, as sparkling wines takes a lot of specialized equipment and space. Andy overcame that by making use of the tanks recently purchased by neighbours, Unsworth Vineyards in Cobble Hill. This collaboration opened the door to establishing a new regional brand for sparkling wine, CHARM DE L’ILE. Both Unsworth and Averill Creek have released wines under this label, but it is open to other local wineries. Charms will be sparkling wines made in the charmat method, just like the very popular Prosecco wines from north east Italy. Expect crisp wines with great purity of fruit and very light yeasty notes.

Averill Creek’s Charm d’Ile brings pinot noir and pinot gris together into a bright, light bodied sparkling wine with ripe apples, peaches, delicate spice and hints of flowers. It’s a perfect summer wine – but there’s no need to wait for summer to roll back round again. This is also a lovely local bubble for canapés, bunch and celebrations – like a 10th anniversary, perhaps.  The wine will retail for approximately $20 at private liquor stores.

 —By Sharon McLean


Written By:

We get many people writing guest articles for us, as well as past contributors. This is the Guest ...

Comments are closed.