“Old Island Wines. New Classic Wines.”
My jaw dropped as we drove up to the Blue Grouse Estate Winery, built on the site of the second oldest vineyard on Vancouver Island. Rolling hills of grape vines bathed in sunlight tend to have that affect on me, but what first got my attention was the Blue Grouse building.
The architecture is truly exquisite. The shape of the building flows into the side of the hill. Sculpted wood and enormous windows give it a west-coast-regal presence. They say the design was inspired by the blue grouse, which is plentiful in the area.
It was too sunny to get good pictures on the day we visited so I used one of theirs to show it to you.
“As soon as you arrive in front of the new Blue Grouse winery and tasting room, you become aware that you have arrived somewhere special; a special facility that embraces the elements of air, land and sea. The entrance itself welcomes you with graceful dogwoods, gorgeous maples and bright evergreen trees that circle a an-made pond, which provides water for irrigation, acts as storm water collection and is a water source for geothermal heating and cooling for the building. The pond is teeming with wildlife – birds, insect and tadpoles have established
homes surrounding the pond, adding to the biodiversity of the property.” (website)
My dh, the boat builder who we fondly call Dr. Epoxy, fell in love with the woodwork and took pictures of it. In this shot we are upstairs above the wine tasting area. Yes, that’s me sitting and taking in the view.
They welcome you with that quintessential, warm, island hospitality that makes you feel at home.
And their wine. Omigosh! Where to do I start. I’ve never tasted so many flavours in wine. I’ll definitely go back.
“Wine is sunlight held together by water.” ~ Gallileo Gallelei
We tasted four wines and I loved them all. Our nephew purchased a white and I purchased, their Pinot Noir, which is amazing: complex, rich, earthy, and seductive.
“Our Pinot Noir exhibits aromas of cherry, nutmeg and allspice. The oak is well integrated with a hint of earthiness and eucalyptus followed up by flavours of plum and black licorice. This complex wine shows elements of minerality and flint. Fine tannins and firm acidity round out the finish.”
I say, “Wowsers!”
“Once the preferred habitat of Blue Grouse, the 45 acres of Blue Grouse Estate are tucked away on a sunny slope of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, which is believed to take its name from a First Nation’s word meaning “the warm land”. A fitting name, as the valley enjoys Canada’s warmest mean temperature. The terroir encompasses wind protection by evergreen trees, an all-Southern exposure, a combination of clay and gravelly soil, and the nurturing of pure air and spring water. Thanks to this exceptional site, the vines require little fertilization and irrigation…
Blue Grouse sources estate grapes … exclusively from its 45 acre
property … selected in 1977 as an ideal site for growing vitis vinifera grapes. Pioneering Island viticulturist John Harper planted an experimental vineyard on the Blue Grouse site in 1977 trialing upwards of 150 different types of grape vines, some of which are still in production. In 1988, the vineyard was purchased by the Kiltz Family, who released the first wines under the Blue Grouse label in 1990. Most of these wines were from rejuvenated vines from the original plantings. There are currently six-and-a-half acres planted to vine, with another two acres currently in development, set to be harvested for wine production in 2017 …” (website)
My Final Words
The Blue Grouse Winery is truly amazing, a must-see if you’re travelling around Vancouver Island. Check out their website for more information.
Warning: Be prepared to be awestruck by the beauty of the landscape and the architecture of the winery built into it. Be prepared to fall in love with their wines.
If you enjoyed this post you might like my other post(s) about Cowichan Island wineries:
Or, other day trips on Vancouver Island: