Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island

48° 29' N


125° 29' W




about this subregion

Nestled on the eastern side of Vancouver Island, this cool climate wine region is a hidden gem within Canada's burgeoning wine landscape. With its unique climate and picturesque landscapes, Vancouver Island offers an ideal setting for grape cultivation, particularly early ripening varieties. Pinot Noir, in particular, takes center stage in this coastal region, earning it a well-deserved reputation as the Island's vinous star.

The Island boasts a vibrant tapestry of tiny wineries and vineyards, each with its own distinctive character and winemaking philosophy. While many may envision vast vineyards and sprawling estates, Vancouver Island's winemaking scene is refreshingly intimate, with a focus on quality over quantity. Here, passionate winemakers pour their hearts and souls into crafting wines that reflect the Island's terroir and showcase the potential of cool-climate viticulture.

The heart of Vancouver Island's viticulture can be found in the Cowichan Valley, the region's first sub-Geographical Indication (sub-GI) established in 2020. This designation recognizes the unique attributes of the Cowichan Valley, including its microclimate, soil diversity, and winemaking heritage. As the Island's wine industry continues to evolve and flourish, Vancouver Island remains a captivating destination for wine enthusiasts seeking to explore the world of Pinot Noir and discover the charm of its boutique wineries and vineyards.


vinerra illustration

Vineyard Hectares



1,300 - 1,500


Discover Terroir

Nestled gracefully along British Columbia's southwestern coast, Vancouver Island is a cherished gem of the Pacific Northwest. Encircled by the serene waters of the Strait of Georgia to the east and the Juan de Fuca Strait to the south and west, the island boasts a mesmerizing natural setting that captivates all who visit. Sharing the region's scenic splendor are the Gulf Islands, dotting the Strait of Georgia with their own unique charm and contributing to the area's enchanting allure.

Spanning approximately 460 kilometers in length and 80 kilometers in width, Vancouver Island's southern tip is adorned with Victoria, the vibrant capital of British Columbia. This bustling city serves as a dynamic cultural hub, blending historical richness with contemporary flair. It also serves as a thriving center for viticulture, with organizations like the Wines of British Columbia association and the British Columbia Grape Growers Association playing pivotal roles in supporting local vineyards and promoting the island's exceptional wines.

Ensuring the integrity and excellence of Vancouver Island's wine production is the esteemed British Columbia Wine Authority. Tasked with meticulous oversight and certification, they safeguard the quality and authenticity of the region's wines, ensuring that each bottle reflects the unique terroir and craftsmanship that define Vancouver Island's winemaking heritage. Through their dedication, they uphold the island's reputation as a premier destination for wine enthusiasts, inviting visitors to savor the beauty and flavors of Vancouver Island wines amidst its breathtaking natural backdrop.

Vancouver Island's wine region, nestled off the west coast of Canada, is distinguished by its unique and favorable climate, which plays a crucial role in the development of its renowned wines. The region benefits from a maritime climate, marked by its mild and temperate conditions. This climate is particularly conducive to grape growing, especially for varieties that thrive in cooler environments.

The vineyards, predominantly situated on the eastern side of the island, enjoy a cool climate that is ideal for early ripening grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Maréchal Foch, Pinot Gris, Bacchus, and Ortega. The Cowichan Valley, a central hub of viticulture on the island and the region’s first designated sub-Geographical Indication, typifies this cool climate viticulture. Here, the vineyards are strategically shielded from the harsh Pacific Ocean storms by nearby mountains, providing a protected and stable environment for grape cultivation.

One of the notable aspects of Vancouver Island's climate is the variation in temperature, with average highs in the mid 20s Celsius (70 to 80 Fahrenheit) during the growing season, but evenings can cool significantly. This diurnal temperature variation is beneficial for grapes, allowing for a balance of sugar and acidity development, crucial for flavor and aroma profiles in wines. In winter, the region boasts being the most temperate in all of British Columbia, with temperatures hovering just below freezing, minimizing frost risk which is a significant concern for vineyards.

Another contributing factor to the region's viticulture success is the amount of sunlight it receives. The area is known to bask in up to 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, providing ample light for photosynthesis and the gradual ripening of grapes. This long exposure to sunlight, combined with the region's unique topography and varied soil types, enables a diverse range of grape varieties to flourish, each expressing the distinctive terroir of Vancouver Island.

In summary, Vancouver Island's wine region enjoys a cool, maritime climate with moderate temperatures, ample sunshine, and a long growing season, all of which are crucial for producing high-quality grapes. The unique combination of climatic conditions and topographical features makes it an ideal location for cultivating a variety of grapes, contributing to the distinct and celebrated wines of the region.

Vancouver Island's wine region is characterized by a diverse range of soil types, each playing a vital role in the cultivation and flavor development of its grapes. Here is a concise overview of the various soil types prevalent in this region:

  1. Ancient Seabed Deposits: The vineyards are primarily situated on soils formed from ancient seabed deposits, including minerals-rich sandstone, shale, and limestone. These contribute significantly to the region's unique terroir, influencing the mineral nuances in the wines.
  2. Orthic Brown Chernozem: Favored for Pinot Noir cultivation, Orthic Brown Chernozem is notable for its fertility and moisture retention capabilities, offering a stable, nutrient-rich base for the vines.
  3. Eluviated Eutric Brunisol: This soil type, known for its well-developed profile, supports a diverse array of grape varieties, thereby enhancing the variety of wines produced in the region.
  4. Duric Dystric Brunisol and Gleyed Dystric Brunisol: Unique to Vancouver Island, these soils offer distinctive textures and nutrient compositions, impacting vine growth and grape health.
  5. Silt-Loams, Clay Loams, and Gravel: The region's soil composition is further enriched by silt-loams, clay loams, and gravel. Silt-loams and clay loams are excellent at retaining water, crucial for consistent vine development, while gravel ensures good drainage, leading to grapes with more intense flavors.

Each soil type in Vancouver Island's wine region plays an integral role in defining the water availability, nutrient balance, and overall health of the vineyards. This rich soil diversity is a key element in shaping the unique and celebrated wines of the region.


Vancouver Island, located in British Columbia, Canada, is known for its unique wine-producing terroir. The region's mild climate and diverse landscape make it ideal for growing a variety of grapes. Among these, certain red and white grape varieties stand out for their popularity and adaptability to the local conditions. This write-up will focus on the most planted red and white grape varieties in the Vancouver Island region, discussing their general agricultural and climatic requirements without delving into their aromatic and flavor profiles.

  1. Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is a grape that thrives in cooler climates, which is partly why it's well-suited for Vancouver Island. It requires a long growing season to mature properly but is sensitive to both extreme cold and heat. This variety demands well-drained soil and prefers locations with plenty of sunlight. Its thin skin makes it vulnerable to various vine diseases and pests, necessitating attentive vineyard management.
  2. Marechal Foch: Marechal Foch is a hardy variety, often celebrated for its adaptability to colder climates, making it a good fit for the Vancouver Island region. It is a robust grape that can withstand harsher weather conditions compared to many other varieties. It prefers well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of soil types. Marechal Foch is relatively easy to grow, as it shows good resistance to many common grape diseases.
  3. Pinot Gris: Pinot Gris is adaptable to a variety of climatic conditions, but it particularly excels in cooler climates, much like those found on Vancouver Island. It prefers shorter growing seasons and can produce well in a range of soil types, although it does best in soils that provide good drainage. This grape is susceptible to certain vineyard diseases, requiring careful vineyard practices.
  4. Ortega: Ortega is a white grape variety that flourishes in cooler, more temperate regions. It is known for its early ripening, making it suitable for areas with shorter growing seasons. Ortega grapes prefer well-drained soils and are relatively resistant to colder temperatures, which aligns well with the climate of Vancouver Island. They are also known for their hardiness against common grapevine diseases.
  5. Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a versatile grape that can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions, though it prefers cooler growing regions. It needs a consistent climate to develop fully. Chardonnay vines do best in limestone-based or chalky soils with good drainage. They are somewhat susceptible to frost and require careful management to prevent vine diseases.
  6. Gewürztraminer: Gewürztraminer is known for its ability to thrive in cooler climates, making it well-suited for Vancouver Island. It requires a long growing season to develop its full flavor profile and prefers well-drained soils. This variety can be prone to overripening, so careful monitoring of the ripening process is essential. It is also relatively resistant to common vine diseases but can be susceptible to pests.

Each of these grape varieties contributes uniquely to the viticultural landscape of Vancouver Island, showcasing the region's ability to nurture a diverse range of vines under its distinctive climatic conditions.

Vancouver Island, a gem in the Canadian wine landscape, is celebrated for its distinctive wines that encapsulate the unique terroir of the region. The island's mild climate and diverse geography allow for the production of a range of wines, each with its own aromatic and flavor profile. This write-up will explore the most common wines produced in Vancouver Island, focusing solely on their aromatic and flavor characteristics.

  1. Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir from Vancouver Island typically exhibits a complex bouquet of red fruits like cherries and raspberries, often intertwined with subtle earthy undertones. On the palate, these wines are known for their smooth texture and a balance of fruitiness and acidity. Delicate hints of oak and spice might be present, adding to the wine’s depth and elegance.
  2. Marechal Foch: Marechal Foch wines are characterized by their deep, rich flavors. They often possess a robust profile of dark fruits such as blackberries and plums. These wines can have smoky undertones and a hint of earthiness. On the palate, Marechal Foch tends to be full-bodied with noticeable tannins, contributing to a strong and lasting finish.
  3. Pinot Gris: The Pinot Gris wines from Vancouver Island are known for their refreshing and crisp nature. Aromatically, they often present a mix of citrus fruits, like lemon and lime, alongside pear and green apple notes. These wines are typically light to medium-bodied, with a vibrant acidity that makes them quite refreshing on the palate.
  4. Ortega: Ortega wines are distinguished by their aromatic intensity, featuring a delightful blend of floral and fruity notes. Common aromas include peach, apricot, and honeysuckle, creating a sense of sweetness on the nose. The wine itself tends to be light, with a smooth and often slightly off-dry palate, balanced by a good acidity.
  5. Chardonnay: Chardonnay from Vancouver Island often showcases a delicate balance of fruit and oak. Aromas of green apple, lemon, and sometimes tropical fruits are common, often complemented by subtle notes of vanilla and butter from oak aging. On the palate, these wines can range from crisp and mineral-driven to richer and creamier, depending on the winemaking style.
  6. Gewürztraminer: Gewürztraminer is renowned for its highly aromatic profile, brimming with exotic floral and spicy notes. Scents of lychee, rose petals, and ginger are typical. On the palate, these wines are often medium-bodied, with a lush texture and a hint of sweetness, counterbalanced by a lively acidity.

Each of these wines, with their distinct aromatic and flavor profiles, contributes to the rich tapestry of Vancouver Island's wine culture, offering a unique tasting experience that reflects the region's exceptional winemaking conditions.