Looking to visit the best Victoria wineries on Vancouver Island?
Our guide to Victoria wineries features detailed descriptions for the best vineyards in the Saanich Peninsula.
Plan a road trip from downtown Victoria to the nearby Saanich Peninsula to experience some of British Columbia’s most scenic wineries.
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History of Vancouver 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 Wineries on Vancouver Island 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.”
The Cowichan Valley has Canada’s most moderate climate as it has the highest annual average temperature. Vancouver Island is a result of volcanic origin and ancient seabed uplifting followed by glaciation. This makes the soils of the island extremely diverse even across a small geographical area. Geology nerds will find silt-loams, clay loams, gravel, and other complex soil types.
If Cowichan Valley is Vancouver Island’s winemaking hub, the Saanich Peninsula is catching up fast in second place.
The wineries here are conveniently located near North Saanich Ferry Terminal and Victoria Airport. If you’re staying in downtown Victoria, these Saanich wineries are your quick and easiest day trip option.
Hotels Near Victoria Wineries
The Victoria wineries are spread out across the Saanich Peninsula. If you’re planning a road trip of the island, stay at one of these beautiful accommodations in Victoria.
- 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.
- Delta Hotels Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort: This 4 star pet-friendly hotel features chic suites, spa, restaurant and gorgeous indoor pool.
- Oak Bay Beach Hotel: This luxury hotel in downtown Victoria features modern guest rooms, gym, spa and jaw-dropping views from an outdoor pool.
Best Victoria Wineries on Vancouver Island
If you’re visiting Victoria on holiday and pressed for time, head to the nearby Saanich Peninsula for a wine tasting day trip.
Just north of Victoria along the Saanich Peninsula, mild temperatures, fertile valleys and expert vintners offer quality wines across the spectrum.
These cluster of wineries near Victoria are conveniently located near the airport and ferry terminal to Vancouver. We suggest celebrating your arrival onto Vancouver Island with a tasting at one of these celebrated vineyards.
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?
- Small Group Wine & Food Tour to the Cowichan Valley: This 6 hour tour visits 3-4 businesses in the Cowichan Valley. Guests enjoy fine wine, cider and Afternoon Tea.
- Private Small Group Cowichan Valley Wineries: Enjoy private transportation (up to 6 passengers) to the Cowichan Valley to visit 4 wineries on a day trip.
- Cowichan Valley Wine Tasting: Climb into an elegant Tesla and embark on a winery tour through Vancouver Island during this full-day, private wine and food experience. Guests visit up to 6 vineyards.
- Butchart Gardens Seaplane and 3-Course Dinner: This 4 hour tour features a 3-course dinner at Butchart Gardens via seaplane flight from Victoria Harbour.
- Gourmet Victoria Dinner & Drinks Tour: This 2.5 hour tour features stops at 4 local restaurants to sample gourmet dishes paired with wine, beer and cocktails.
- Vancouver Island Cycle Tour: This 12 hour biking tour includes stops to sample farm-fresh food and local wine.
334 Walton Pl, 250-652-3782
Mike Rathjen and Colin Mann are the owners of Rathjen Cellars, one of the best Victoria Wineries located in the Saanich Peninsula.
Rathjen described the history of the property, “The 15-acre property was a honey farm that dates back to the 1950’s. It was a local institution and I have customers coming in all the time regaling me with stories of the Babe’s Honey era. Once the original owners passed away, the property changed hands and it fell into disrepair. Colin’s family picked up the property in 2011 and did a beautiful job fixing it up and restoring the fields to gently sloping pasture. That’s when Colin and Mike started scheming about what to do with the 10,000 sq foot honey warehouse at the bottom of the property.”
Rathjen Cellars first vintage was in 2015 and its first wines were released during Christmas in 2017. In 2019 the winery and tasting room first opened to the public.
The Rathjen Winery and tasting room are housed in one third of the original honey warehouse. Rathjen added, “We’ve maintained the warehouse-industrial feel, but exposed the vaulted barn rafters, added several windows and a huge glass door to brighten up the space and built a 20 ft bar made of reclaimed timber and wrapped in white honeycomb tile.”
Rathjen is the Saanich winery’s resident winemaker, “My favourite wines are ones that taste of a place and pair well with food. I like wines that are versatile and highly drinkable. To me these tend to be lower in alcohol, have bright acidity and something other than just fruit going on such as minerality or spice.”
1445 Benvenuto Ave, 250-652-2671
Church & State Wines is a winery near Victoria that first opened its doors 15 years ago.
Located in the heart of the Saanich Peninsula, Church & State Wines is one of the largest winery buildings on the island.
Donica Jeffery from Church & State Wines shared the meaning being the name, “it is meant to embrace the idea of the head + heart. The struggle between the two, and delicate balance that is found.”
Resident winemaker Arnaud Thierry has been tending the vineyards since January, 2019. Growing up in France, Thierry was all but born into winemaking having spent much of his youth amidst the vines of Bordeaux.
From March to November, Church & State Wines operates a Tasting Bar and Bistro serving some of the best Vancouver Island Wines. The kitchen crafts a curated menu showcasing fresh local ingredients. Executive Chef Desiree Perrin pair Church & State Wines with dishes such as Baked Dungeness Crab Dip, Crispy Polenta Fries and handsome cheese & charcuterie boards.
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6181B Old West Saanich Rd, 250-665-6983
In 2007, John and Catherine Windsor grew De Vine Vineyards & Spirits from a strong love of wine, community, and Vancouver Island. Along with a dedicated team of friends and family and 25 acres of overgrown farmland, a vineyard was planted.
De Vine Vineyards is unique on Vancouver Island for offering both fine wines and locally distilled craft spirits. Winemaker and Master distiller, Ken Winchester, lives on site to lovingly watch over the vintage German copper pot still, Brünhilde.
Visitors can sample vodka created from strawberries, gin crafted from wine grapes, rum distilled from honey, and whisky from island-grown malted barley.
The estate-grown vineyard is certified organic and has been farmed without pesticides or sprays since day one. Those visiting the Victoria Wineries should skip over to the De Vine Vineyards tasting room to enjoy popular wine varietals Ortega, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or Siegerrebe.
11195 Chalet Rd, 250-656-2552
Explore the best Victoria Wineries with a stop at Deep Cove.
Deep Cove Winery website shares, “Husband and wife team, Elyse and Tasem Ramadan saw the promise in the terroir and for their young family when they decided to begin their journey in the winemaking business. Nestled between Horth Hill Regional Park and Deep Cove, the clay soil land is not only protected from wind and moderated by the Pacific overlooks, it offers the warmest spot in the region, advantageous for the ripening of the 3 acres of grapes that were originally planted almost 20 years ago.”
The estate vineyard has been committed to sustainable growing practices since 2017 and will continue to ensure that its stellar Saanich wines are a true reflection of the beauty that British Columbia has to offer.
The scenic winery is one of the most romantic wineries on Vancouver Island to host an outdoor wedding. “We have a beautiful main event space, The Amphora Room, a versatile room with an intimate, yet expansive feel, vaulted ceilings and a flexible floor plan of 1800 sq ft. Open the double doors to the Vineyard terrace where the ocean breezes flows through the vineyard that surrounds you. Seasonally, we are also happy to offer our wooden open beam Winery Crush Pad; a beautiful unique outdoor covered location of 1200 sq ft.”
Deep Cove’s best wines include varietals such as Ortega, Pinot Gris, Marechal Foch and Schonburger.
9100 E Saanich Rd, 250-655-0075
Situated in the heart of North Saanich’s pastoral landscape, Roost Farm Winery near the Victoria Airport focucses on local food, wine, and sustainability.
Roost Farm Winery offers a popular bakery and cafe featuring fresh breakfast plates, homemade sandwiches, soups, pies and poutine. The Vineyard Bistro offers several Vancouver Island Wines by the glass, including Roost Farm’s Siegerrebe, Merlot & Syrah and Marechal Foch.
The Roost sits perched over 10 acres of farmland where farmers grow many items used to produce the food the chef’s in the Vineyard Bistro proudly serve. The wheat grown and milled on-site is used to bake breads fresh daily. The blueberries, sheep, and a unique vineyard, all add to the authentic experience enjoyed on this truly unique Victoria winery.
Roost Farm is one of the best Victoria wineries for families. Treat the kids to breakfast or brunch before sipping a few wines at the onsite tasting room. Families can book fun Vineyard & Farm Tours, an opportunity to meet the resident sheep and chickens.
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6409 Oldfield Rd, 250-208-8784
Symphony Vineyards first opened its winery doors in 2012. Owners Lamont Brooks and Pat George has been farming the land with their family in Central Saanich since 1959.
The family grew over 20 acres of loganberries for Growers Winery, which was established in 1921 as the first commercial winery in British Columbia.
Symphony Vineyard planted its first vines in 2004 and focussed on crisp dry aromatic white wines, rosé, and lightly barrel aged fruit forward reds.
George explains the meaning behind the Victoria wineries name, “Symphony Vineyards came from working the land and our feeling that the creation of wine from farm to glass has the emotion and physicality of the 4 movements of a classical symphony.”
George continued, “Our focus is very much on farming and winemaking. We sell nearly all our wine from the winery. We have the helping hands of a few long time employees and we bring on some volunteers for the celebrations of harvest.”
Hungry visitors can enjoy a small self-serve deli full of local snacks. Guests can create a platter topped with Vancouver Island cheese, charcuterie, smoked salmon, freshly baked baguette, crackers, chutney and wine jelly.
The Victoria wineries grass patios are a great spot to sip and savour. Enjoy good conversation with friends while enjoying a scenic vineyard view.
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