Wine Islands Tasting 2009

If the massive turnout at the first ever Wine Islands Tasting is any indication (sold out ++!), this will become a very popular annual event.  This tasting, organized by the Wine Islands Vintners Association (WIVA) assembled over 20 Wine Islands wineries, cideries & meaderies, with most pouring new releases.

It was fantastic to see so many winery owners and winemakers behind the tables, as most tastings are just staffed with reps.  There were many familiar faces in attendance, along with newer names on the circuit (Deol Estate Winery, Dragonfly Hill Vineyard, Island Sprits Distillery…)

While I didn’t have time to play the trivia contest (included with the program was a Q&A for each producer present), I did make my rounds theInn at Laurel Point Solarium – ok – three times.  Here are some highlights:

• Finally meeting, face-to-face, Andy Johnston of Averill Creek Vineyard,after years of email correspondence.  His Pinot Noir remains one of my favourite BC Pinots – Bright black cherry and raspberry aromas lead into cedar, tobacco, leather and delicate wafts of wild cherry.  Ahh…

• Merridale Ciderworks’ fortified Pomme Oh (gorgeous apple) and Mure Oh (spicy blackberry).

• Prism – an aromatic and crisp estate grown Gew/Chard blend from Garry Oaks Winery , along with their perennially delish, creamy pear and fresh mineral kissed Pinot Gris.

• a led tasting by owner/winemaker Jim Moody of Zanatta Winery’s sparkling wines: Glenora Fantasia NV (Cayuga), Fatima Brut 2005 (Pinot Grigio), Allegria Brut Rose 2005 (Pinot Noir), Brut Tradizionale 2003 (Pinot Noir).  Cayuga grape?  Cool!  I still can’t decide which is my favourite – I’ll need to taste them all again!

• Seeing the lovely folks at Starling Lane.  While their new vintages aren’t yet released, I was reminded of my fondness for the intense Port Victoria Wild Blackberry.

• yum, yum Sea Cider!  Their Pippins, sparkling Rumrummer and accidental Pomona were all very highly quaffable.

• The always lovely and elegant Brut Naturel from Venturi Schulze Vineyards – a stunning sparkler.  Also on hand, the brand new Pinot Noir & Zweigelt blanc de noir, The Bad Boys.   The labels for their Verjus always make me smile – art from owners Marilyn and Giordano’s daughter Giordana, at age three.

Beaufort Vineyard Estate Winerys Panacea – Pinot Gris/Schonburger blend.

• Being introduced to Island Spirits Distillery and their Phrog Vodka and Phrog Gin – painstakingly crafted on a still of their own creation (20 years in the making!) on Hornby Island.  Their goal – purity – so much so that their ultra premium spirits are said to cause no hangovers or trigger allergens.  Part science, part art, part skill and part patience.  Great labels and name.

There were many others – and I wish I could have sipped longer, but the crush was really teeming through signaling my time to depart.  A great event – proceeds benefit the Canadian Cancer Society.   Snap up next year’s tickets as soon as you see them.

List of Participants.  For contact details, visit the Wine Islands Website.

Alderlea Vineyards

Averill Creek Vineyards

Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery

Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Carbrea Vineyard and Winery

Chalet Estate Wines

Cherry Point Vineyards

Church and State Wines

Deol Estate Winery

Dragonfly Hill Vineyard

Garry Oaks Winery

Honeymoon Bay Winery

Island Spirits Distillery

Malahat Estate Vineyard

Morning Bay Vineyards

Merridale Ciderworks

Rocky Creek Winery

Silverside Farm & Winery

Salt Spring Vineyards

Saturna Island Family Estate Winery

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Starling Lane Winery

Tugwell Creek Meadery

Venturi-Schulze Vineyards

Victoria Gin

Zanatta Winery

and Hilary’s Cheese


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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