about this subregion

The Kootenays region, nestled to the east of the renowned Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, is a captivating and lesser-known gem in Canada's winemaking landscape. Characterized by small, scattered vineyard plantings, this region is a testament to the diversity of Canadian wine terroirs. Here, the vineyards unfurl along the valley floors, with the warmest and most promising sections found in the Creston valley, the Grand Forks area, and the emerging potential of the Rock Creek area.

What distinguishes the Kootenays is its moderate overall climate, which is ideal for cultivating mid-season ripening grape varieties. Pinot Noir, celebrated for its versatility and finesse, thrives in this environment, yielding wines that exhibit a delicate balance of fruit and earthy notes. Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer also flourish here, reflecting the region's capacity to produce a spectrum of white wines that range from crisp and refreshing to aromatic and luscious.

As winemakers in the Kootenays continue to explore the nuances of this unique terroir, the region's wines are garnering well-deserved attention for their distinctive character. With its picturesque landscapes and a growing reputation for quality, the Kootenays region is emerging as an exciting addition to the vibrant Canadian wine scene, enticing both wine connoisseurs and adventurers seeking new tasting experiences.



Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

Tucked away in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, Canada, the Kootenays wine region is a hidden gem that beckons connoisseurs and travelers alike with its breathtaking natural beauty and burgeoning wine culture. This verdant region, cradled by the Kootenay River Valley and its surrounding areas, is home to a tight-knit community of vineyards and wineries, with towns like Creston, Nelson, and Castlegar serving as key hubs of viticultural activity. Its western boundary is marked by the proximity to the acclaimed Okanagan Valley, a neighbor and counterpart in the province's illustrious wine-producing tapestry.

The Kootenays are celebrated for their dramatic mountainous terrains, pristine lakes, and fertile valleys that not only offer a visual feast but also create an idyllic setting for viticulture. The unique climatic conditions and diverse terroirs across this region contribute to the production of distinctive wines that reflect the essence of this unspoiled land. From crisp whites to robust reds, the wines of the Kootenays are beginning to draw attention for their quality and character, marking the region as an emerging player in the Canadian wine scene.

Supporting the growth and recognition of the Kootenays wine region are organizations dedicated to nurturing and promoting its viticultural potential. The Wines of British Columbia association plays a pivotal role in this endeavor, acting as a voice for the region's winegrowers and sharing the stories, passions, and craftsmanship that define the Kootenays wine culture. Through various initiatives and programs, this association helps to elevate the profile of Kootenays wines, ensuring that they find their rightful place in the broader narrative of British Columbia's wine industry.

Similarly, the British Columbia Grape Growers Association champions the interests of grape growers throughout the province, including those in the Kootenays. This organization focuses on advocacy, research, and development to support the viticultural community, fostering an environment where grape growing can flourish amidst the challenges of climate, market dynamics, and agricultural practices.

Ensuring the integrity and quality of Kootenays wines is the British Columbia Wine Authority, a regulatory body tasked with certifying wines produced in the region. Through rigorous standards and a commitment to authenticity, the BC Wine Authority guarantees that wines bearing the Kootenays label meet the highest criteria of excellence, reflecting the unique terroir and winemaking philosophy of the region.

As the Kootenays wine region continues to evolve, it stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity of its people, who have embraced the natural splendor of their surroundings to craft wines that resonate with the spirit of British Columbia. Whether through the meticulous care of vineyards nestled among mountains or the innovative approaches to winemaking that honor the region's distinct character, the Kootenays are slowly but surely carving out a niche that promises to enchant wine lovers for generations to come.

The Kootenays wine region stands out not only for its breathtaking scenery but also for its climatic conditions, which play a pivotal role in shaping the distinctive character of its wines. Situated amidst the stunning mountainous terrain, this region experiences a temperate climate that is heavily influenced by its geographical surroundings. It is this unique setting that gives rise to a microclimate perfectly suited for viticulture, fostering conditions conducive to the cultivation of exceptional grapes and the crafting of exquisite wines.

Summer in the Kootenays unfolds with a gentle warmth, providing an ideal environment for grapes to ripen gradually while retaining crucial acidity, a hallmark of freshness and vibrancy in wines. The moderate temperatures during the day are often offset by cool nights, creating a diurnal temperature variation that is highly favorable for the development of complex flavor profiles in the grapes. This natural fluctuation encourages the synthesis of aromatic compounds and preserves the grapes' acidity, resulting in wines that boast a harmonious balance of fruitiness and structure.

As winter descends upon the region, it brings with it relatively mild conditions, albeit with occasional cold snaps that pose a challenge to the resilience of the vines. Yet, far from being detrimental, these bouts of climatic adversity contribute to the fortitude and robustness of the grape varieties cultivated in the area. The stress induced by the cold temperatures serves to concentrate the flavors within the grapes, imbuing the resulting wines with a depth and intensity that speak to the character of the land.

Rainfall in the Kootenays is moderate, providing the vines with the necessary moisture to thrive, while the well-drained soils ensure that excess water is swiftly whisked away. This delicate balance between precipitation and drainage is essential for preventing waterlogging, which could otherwise dilute the flavors of the grapes. Instead, it fosters an environment where the grapes can achieve optimal ripeness and express the full spectrum of their varietal characteristics.

The climatic tapestry of the Kootenays, woven with its seasonal nuances and shaped by its distinctive topography, culminates in an environment where grapes attain a perfect equilibrium of ripeness and acidity. This climatic harmony is beautifully reflected in the wines produced in the region, which are renowned for their elegance, complexity, and terroir-driven expression. Each sip offers a glimpse into the natural splendor of the Kootenays, capturing the essence of its landscape and the passion of its winemakers.

Embark on a journey through the enchanting Kootenays wine region of British Columbia, where the mosaic of soils is as diverse and captivating as the wines it yields. As we meander through this picturesque landscape, let us peel back the layers of soil diversity and uncover the hidden secrets that contribute to the region's vinous tapestry.

  1. Alluvial Soils: Let your imagination drift to the tranquil valley floors, where the gentle flow of the Kootenay River has woven a tapestry of alluvial soils over time. These fertile soils, enriched by the remnants of ancient glaciers, cradle the vineyards in a nurturing embrace. Laden with nutrients and organic matter, they provide a bountiful foundation for vine growth, encouraging lush foliage and abundant fruit production. It's here, amidst the verdant valleys, that the vines find their sanctuary, flourishing under the benevolent gaze of the sun.
  2. Stony and Well-Drained Soils: Now, let us ascend to the rugged slopes and higher elevations, where the soil takes on a different character. Here, the terrain becomes rockier, and the soils boast exceptional drainage properties. This harsher environment challenges the vines to dig deep, seeking sustenance amidst the rocky substrate. Yet, it is precisely this struggle that imparts character and depth to the grapes, fostering the development of complex flavors and nuanced aromas. It's a terrain where resilience is rewarded, and the resulting wines reflect the rugged beauty of their origins.

In the Kootenays, the soil transcends mere earth; it is a storyteller, weaving tales of diversity and complexity that echo in every glass of wine. Each soil type, with its distinctive attributes and characteristics, contributes to the unique personality of the wines, infusing them with a sense of place and identity. From the fertile valleys to the rocky slopes, each parcel of land imparts its own imprint on the grapes, shaping the final expression of the wine.

As we raise our glasses to toast the richness of the Kootenays, let us savor not just the wine but the narrative woven into its very essence. Here, amidst the rolling hills and verdant valleys, lies a tapestry of flavors waiting to be explored—a testament to the enduring romance between the land and the vine. Indeed, the Kootenays stand as a captivating chapter in the grand story of viticulture, where every sip is a journey unto itself, a celebration of soil, soul, and the art of winemaking.


The Kootenays wine region is characterized by its diverse topography ranging from vast mountain ranges to lush valleys. This unique landscape contributes to a varied microclimate ideal for viticulture. Let’s explore the most common grape varieties grown in this region, focusing on their agricultural and climatic requirements.

  1. Pinot Noir: This grape thrives in the cooler climates of the Kootenays. Pinot Noir requires a long growing season with moderate temperatures to develop its full potential. It prefers well-drained soils and is sensitive to both extreme heat and cold, making the Kootenays' temperate climate ideal for its cultivation. The region's cooler nights help preserve the grape's natural acidity, essential for the structure of the wine.
  2. Marechal Foch: This hybrid variety is well-suited to the Kootenays due to its hardiness and ability to adapt to colder climates. Marechal Foch ripens early, making it a viable option in regions with shorter growing seasons. It’s known for its disease resistance, particularly to phylloxera, a common vine pest. This grape variety can thrive in a variety of soil types, although it prefers well-drained soils.
  3. Gamay Noir: Gamay Noir grapes adapt well to the Kootenays' climate, as they require a slightly shorter growing season compared to other red varieties. They are less sensitive to cold, making them suitable for cooler areas within the region. Gamay Noir vines prefer well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of soil compositions, although they flourish particularly in sandy and granite-based soils.
  4. Gewürztraminer: This white grape variety suits the Kootenays' diverse climatic conditions. Gewürztraminer needs a cooler climate to maintain its distinctive aromatic profile. It thrives in well-drained soils, particularly those with higher acidity levels. This grape variety is somewhat resistant to cold but requires careful management to avoid diseases common in cooler, wetter climates.
  5. Pinot Gris: Pinot Gris is well adapted to the Kootenays due to its versatility in different climatic conditions. It requires a long growing season to develop its flavors fully but is less sensitive to temperature variations. Pinot Gris vines do well in a variety of soil types, though they prefer well-drained, nutrient-rich soils.
  6. Chardonnay: Chardonnay, one of the world’s most popular white wine grapes, grows well in the Kootenays' cooler climate. It requires a consistent growing season with moderate temperatures. This variety is versatile regarding soil preference but tends to produce the best results in limestone-based or clay soils with good drainage.
  7. Riesling: Riesling thrives in the cooler areas of the Kootenays. It requires a long growing season and is known for its ability to reflect its terroir. Riesling prefers cooler temperatures to maintain its acidity and develops best in well-drained soils with good sun exposure. It’s a hardy variety that can withstand colder winter temperatures.

Each of these grape varieties contributes to the unique character of the Kootenays wine region, with their agricultural and climatic needs aligning well with the region’s natural conditions.

The Kootenays wine region, known for its distinct terroir and refined winemaking practices, boasts a variety of wines each with unique aromatic and flavor profiles. This region's wines are a true representation of the diversity and complexity of its vineyards. Let's explore the most common wines from the Kootenays and their characteristic aromatic and flavor profiles.

  1. Pinot Noir: Elegance and finesse define the Pinot Noir from the Kootenays. In its sparkling form, it offers a rich, full-bodied experience with red and black fruit notes. As a rosé, it leans towards a lean, dry profile with varying depth of flavor and color. Rarely, in still white wines, it presents a robust, rich character.
  2. Marechal Foch: This versatile variety ranges from light red wines to darker, more intense ones. The lighter versions exhibit strong acidity and black fruit aromas, while the darker ones add a gamey nose. The more extracted wines from older plantings are noted for their complexity, featuring toasted wheat, mocha, fresh coffee, bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, and musk.
  3. Gamay Noir: Resembling Pinot Noir, this light-bodied red wine is marked by red fruit flavors like raspberry, cherry, strawberry, and currant. It's further enriched with violet flower notes, minerality, and spicy undertones.
  4. Gewürztraminer: Typically, Gewürztraminer is celebrated for its pronounced aromatics and a rich, spicy flavor profile, although specific characteristics from the Kootenays region are not detailed.
  5. Pinot Gris: Generally, Pinot Gris varies from fresh and fruity to rich and full-bodied, influenced by regional and winemaking styles, though specific details from the Kootenays are not provided.
  6. Chardonnay: Known for its wide-ranging flavor profile, Chardonnay can be crisp and mineral in cooler regions or rich and buttery in warmer areas, often with an oak influence, but specific notes from the Kootenays are not mentioned.
  7. Riesling: The Riesling from the Kootenays is characterized by high acidity and fruit flavors like apricot, nectarine, peach, apple, pear, and pineapple. Citrus notes, honey, honeycomb, beeswax, and petrol are also common, with aged flavors like diesel and lanolin developing over time.

Each variety contributes significantly to the Kootenays' reputation as a producer of diverse and distinctive wines, reflecting the unique qualities of this rich wine region.