A Visit to the Award-Winning Unsworth Vineyards and Winery

Cowichan Valley’s verdant slopes are home to one of Vancouver Island’s most beautiful wineries. Unsworth Vineyards features a handful of estate-grown grape varieties selected by critically-acclaimed wine maker Daniel Cosman and proprietor Tim Turyk, an Oak Bay Secondary UVic Economics grad who bought the winery’s 32 acres in 2009 as a “retirement project” after four decades in the fishing industry (President of Bella Coola Fisheries in Delta 1977-2012, fourth biggest fish processing plant in BC.)

Unsworth was Turyk’s mother’s maiden name, and the winery was named to honour her memory. She spent childhood summers at Shawnigan Lake and introduced Turyk and the rest of the family to the warmth and beauty of Cowichan Valley. Family tradition continues to grow with Tim and Colleen Turyk’s son, Christopher serving as Unsworth Vineyard’s assistant manager. The winery’s familial roots also include general manager Sarah Cosman, who married the wine maker while learning the craft from Daniel at a nearby vineyard.


I spent a recent, sunny afternoon with both families, dining on chef Steven Elskens’ Cowichan Valley-inspired fare. Elskens and his wife Christle Pope have been popular fixtures at the Duncan Farmer’s Market and numerous Island festivals since launching their Farm Gate Foods and Catering truck in 2010. The couple recently took over the kitchen at Unsworth’s renovated, 119-year old farmhouse restaurant featuring seasonal, locally-produced ingredients including herbs, kale, other greens from the winery’s small vegetable garden. The Cowichan Valley-inspired menu includes a range of innovative small plates offerings of braised octopus, slow-roasted spareribs and poached red snapper with green coconut curry, as well as bistro classics like steak frites, spaghettini, and risotto arancini dishes.

Re-opened in late-May, Elskens and Pope’s new restaurant at Unsworth has 50 seats in the main dining room and lounge and another 35 for al fresco dining on split-level patios and porches with panoramic views of the bucolic grounds and vineyards. There is also a patio with tables outside the wine shop and tasting room and an expanse of lawn below a small waterfall with more tables for special events. All spaces are wheelchair accessible.

Inside the newly-renovated restaurant all floors and walls are locally-milled fir, and the marble bar is from a nearby quarry. The elegant dining room features the old farmhouse’s original fireplace and stained glass, and a local potter has crafted beautiful sinks for the bathrooms.


“We’ve got a new tap system in the bar,” Tim Turyk told me as I sipped the winery’s 2012 Allegro blend of Petit Milo, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.” Our current production is 2500 cases, and now we’ll be able to offer all of our wines on tap in the new restaurant.”


Unsworth’s Pinot Gris and Rosé have won awards in BC and nationally, while their bubbly Cuvée De L’ile, Allegro, and Symphony blends have won critical raves. I tried a glass of Unsworth’s  2012 Pinot Noir during my visit and brought a bottle of it home too.

—Written by Joseph Blake, an EAT magazine print contributor. Written for The EAT Storehouse.


UnsworthVineyards and Winery

2915 Cameron Taggart Rd. Cobble Hill, BC


The tasting room hours are Wednesday through Sunday 11am – 6pm

Restaurant hours are Wednesday through Sunday lunch and dinner, from 11am – close.


For more information visit Unsworth Vineyards on The Storehouse.



Twitter: @UnsworthV

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