Sea Star Vineyard’s Aromatic Cool Climate Wines

Sea Star Vineyard Winery on Pender Island is creating quite the buzz with its latest release of wines. I talked to proprietor, David Goudge, to find out more.

Sea Star Vineyards released their first wines, from the 2013 vintage, last year and they sold out in six months. The 2014 vintages are now available and, with sales three times greater so far this year, it looks like another sell-out year for this young winery. Goudge notes that this obviously presents the possibility to increase production, but they “are very pleased to make around 3,000 cases and be sought after by many of Vancouver and Vancouver Island’s best restaurants and resorts, not to mention the thirsty inhabitants of Pender Island. So the dream is to stay the course. Serendipity has played a strong role to date, and we’re grateful that Sea Star Vineyards has already developed a strong brand and popularity.”

Goudge was a realtor in Vancouver for many years and when he retired fifteen years ago, moving into the wine business wasn’t on his bucket list. He says, “I initially moved to Pender because I love the tranquility and reverence towards the environment and after moving here, I became aware of the winery opportunity.” That opportunity was 27 acres of oceanfront property terracing up Mount Menzies and cascading down to the beach. Goudge notes, “At a minimum it presented a good a real estate investment. But with some professional guidance, a vineyard could potentially do very well.”

So Goudge jumped and in 2011, he became the new owner of the property, previously known as Morning Bay. Much of the first year was dedicated to repair and acquisition of new equipment and, most importantly, finding the right winemaker. Goudge was grateful to meet Ian Baker, who was one of the founders and the winemaker for Mistaken Identity Vineyards on Salt Spring Island. Baker brings the experience of making wines in our cooler climate.

Together, Goudge and Baker have crafted a full range of aromatic wines that capture the best of what the Islands can offer—great purity of fruit backed by freshness and crispness. Here are some of my favourites. Look for them, in their distinctive and elegant packaging, in private liquor stores and select restaurants.

Salish Sea is a complex and seamless blend of Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega and Schonberger. It’s a light, crisp wine with beautiful aromas of peaches, apples, pears, roses.

Siegerrebe is a grape that does so well in our cool climate. It’s an offspring of Gewurztraminer and those pronounced aromatics shine through in this wine. Expect roses, honeysuckles, and a whole bunch of spring flowers to jump out of the glass.

Ortega is another grape that has happily made its home on the Islands. One of its parents is Siegerrebe and it shares a similar floral and orchard fruit profile. Here we find honeydew melon, apricots, peaches, and a hint of mango supported by refreshing acidity.

Visitors are welcome at the winery, which opened in 2014. The Tasting Room hours vary by season. Check the website for details,

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