Best Denman & Hornby Island Wineries

Looking to sip and swirl on a ferry hopping adventure to the best Denman and Hornby Island Wineries?

Our travel guide to the best wineries on Denman Island and Hornby Island feature grape wines, fruit wines and a “honey wine” mead producer.

Plan a road trip of British Columbia’s Gulf Island’s near Vancouver Island to visit the most scenic vineyards on Canada’s west coast.

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Save our Denman & Hornby Island Wineries Guide to Pinterest!

History of Hornby Island Wineries

Winemaking on Vancouver Island began in the early 1920’s with wines produced from loganberries by the Growers’ Wine Company. 

On Vancouver Island, grape winemaking really began to boom after a provincial government-funded trial – The Duncan Project – identified Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and Ortega as promising varieties for this unique seaside environment.

Today, the majority of Vancouver Island wineries are located in the Cowichan Valley and Saanich Peninsula. There are additional wineries near Nanimo, Comox and on some of the surrounding islands like Hornby and Denman.

The first winery on Vancouver Island was Zanatta Winery, which opened in 1992. Today, there are 32 licensed grape wineries covering a planted region of 432 acres.

Dobbernatinloves had an opportunity to chat with Vancouver Island wine expert Chris Turyk from Unsworth Vineyards. Turyk explained, “In August, 2020 the British Columbia government officially announced the creation of the Cowichan Valley sub-region on Vancouver Island. This is the first time a wine region outside of the Okanagan has been given such a distinction.”

He continued, “Some of the most planted grape varieties are Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir but there are hosts of others that have become local favourites including Ortega, Marachel Foch, Sauvignette and Petite Milo.”

Hornby Island Estate Winery was the first producer on Hornby Island, thanks to founders and owners, John Grayson and Joan Costello who launchd the business in 1999.

Vancouver Island Winery Tours

There are plenty of great ways to explore the wineries on Vancouver Island. Organize your own road trip or book one of these popular tours led by local experts. Keen to avoid driving so you can sip with glee? Why not book one of these popular food & drink tours of Vancouver Island?

If you’re visiting Vancouver Island in the summer, we suggest planning your trip around the annual Hornby Festival.

Hornby Island Glamping at Fossil Beach Cider House.
Hornby Island Glamping at Fossil Beach Cider House.

Vancouver Island Hotels

If you’re planning a day trip to Denman and Hornby Island we suggest booking accommodation in Victoria, Cowachin Valley or Comox.

If you’re visiting during the summer season and want to spend a few days on Hornby Island we suggest enjoying a glamping experience at Lerena Vineyards or Fossil Beach Cider.

  • Fairmont Empress in Victoria: Vancouver Island’s most iconic hotel sits perched over Victoria’s scenic harbour. The 5 star luxury accommodation is an excellent home base for those visiting Victoria who are keen to plan day trips to the wineries in nearby Cowichan Valley and the Saanich Peninsula. The historic hotel offers chic suites, romantic spa, elegant bar and Victoria’s best Afternoon Tea.

Expedia | TripAdvisor | | HotelsCombined | Agoda

  • Blue Grouse House in Cowichan: One of Vancouver Island’s most popular wineries offers onsite accommodation. Book a vineyard retreat at Blue Grouse House and enjoy a two-bedroom suite, gas fireplace, modern kitchen and scenic outdoor patio.

TripAdvisor | Vrbo

  • Emandare Vineyard Guest House in Cowichan: Located in Duncan, this luxurious winery accommodation features a fully furnished 950 sqft suite with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, front deck with BBQ and Jacuzzi hot tub.

Expedia | TripAdvisor | Vrbo

Denman & Hornby Island Wineries

The Strait of Georgia separates Vancouver Island from the mainland. On Vancouver Island’s east coast, there are several smaller islands worth visiting. If you have time we suggest hopping on a car ferry bound for Denman and Hornby Island, located just south of Comox.

Denman Island features one winery, Corlan Farm Vineyard, which you can visit before cruising on a ferry to nearby Hornby Island. Ranked as one of the most beautiful islands in Canada, Hornby Island offers scenic hiking trails, pristine national parks and beautiful beaches. Visitors to the island should make sure to visit Hornby Island Estate Winery, Isla De Lerena Vineyard and Middle Mountain Mead.

Wine harvest at Corlan Vineyard on Denman Island.
Wine harvest at Corlan Vineyard on Denman Island.

Corlan Vineyard & Farm

8441 McFarlane Rd, 250-335-9132

Selwyn and Patricia Jones moved to Denman Island in 2006, clearing the land on their property so they could plant their first vines in 2008.

Corlan Vineyard is the only commercial winery on Denman Island. The organic farm also raises sheep and chickens.

Most of the Denman winery building was constructed of material milled from trees that were cleared. The tasting room is unique as a cedar tree is the main structural support. 

Patrica Jones shared, “We have had several businesses over the years and this grew naturally out of growing the grapes. The winery’s name is a Welsh word – Corlan – meaning sheep-fold. We have had sheep ever since we moved here. My husband’s first language is Welsh.”

Patricia is the winery’s resident winemaker, “The most satisfying grape to work with is Marechal Foch; we took silver in New York State last spring with this wine. We also took silver for our blackberry dessert wine.”

Corlan Vineyard on Denman Island has a small restaurant, mainly using ingredients that grow on the farm or elsewhere on the island.

Award wining Vancouver Island Wines found at Hornby Island Estate Winery.
Award wining Vancouver Island fruit wines found at Hornby Island Estate Winery.

Horby Island Estate Winery

7000 Anderson Dr, 250-335-3019

Since 1999, Hornby Island Estate Winery founders and owners, John Grayson and Joan Costello, have been producing delicious wines, ports, and sherry made with local British Columbia fruits and berries.

The popular British Columbia winery is located on scenic Hornby Island, a two ferry journey from Vancouver Island’s Comox Ferry Terminal via Denman Island. Hornby is part of the Gulf Islands wine region, known for long, hot, dry summers.

Although 2007 was the first year that Hornby Island Estate Winery bottled wine and offered tastings, John Grayson is actually an old hat in the British Columbia wine industry. Over 30 years ago Grayson was one of the first farmers to grow wine grapes in the Cowichan Valley while running the Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada in Duncan. He also owned the original Auchinachie Road Farm for more than 10 years.

Today, Hornby Island Estate Winery’s orchard is 20 years old, producing juicy heritage English and French cider apples. Our favourite Hornby Island Estate Winery bottles include Blackberry Portamento, Cranberry Apple Sherry, Blueberry Port and Sparkling Raspberry Wine.

Sample Vancouver Island Wines at Isla de Lerena Vineyard.
Sample Vancouver Island Wines at Isla de Lerena Vineyard.

Isla De Lerena Vineyard

1885 Central Rd, 250-335-2491

Isla de Lerena Vineyard is another one of our favourite Hornby Island Wineries.

Established in 2002, the owners of Isla de Lerena Vineyard were drawn to Hornby Island by the people and serenity of this remote and magical place.

Hornby Island was first explored by the Spanish in 1791, who named it Isla de Lerena. The warm micro climate has established a long-standing tradition of farming on the island. Abundant sunny days give vines a unique growing opportunity, allowing the Isla De Lerena winemaker to handcraft small batches of superior wines.

Our favourite Isla De Lerena Vineyard wines worth sipping on a visit to Hornby Island include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

Look beyond the vinis vinifera vines and you’ll find a gorgeous glamping site, Hornby Islands most unique accommodation. The onsite glamping tents are available for rent between May and September. They come furnished with a beautiful bedroom, tucked into the woods.

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Middle Mountain Mead is located on British Columbia's scenic Hornby Island.
Middle Mountain Mead is located on British Columbia’s scenic Hornby Island.

Middle Mountain Mead

3505 Euston Rd, 250-335-1397

No Hornby Island tour is complete without a stop at artisan honey winery Middle Mountain Mead.

While not technically one of the Hornby Island wineries, Middle Mountain Mead produces an ancient fermented beverage using honey instead of grapes. Mead is “wine” made from honey and water, often flavoured with herbs, fruits, spices and other botanical elements.

Owners Helen Grond and Steve McGrath tend beef hives, lush lavender fields, gorgeous herb gardens and offer an intimate mead tasting room.

Popular mead’s worth sampling at Middle Mountain include Cyser, Green Tea Elixir, Cranberry Red Currant, Alpenglow and Rosenmeade.

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