Common Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Ortega, Marechal Foch
Average Daily High Temperature (July): 20C
Annual Hours of Sunshine: 2109
Average Annual Rainfall: 583 mm
Soil Type: Silty, gravelly, sandy clay, volcanic rock
7The sheer beauty of the quaint islands dotting the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland is enough of a draw on its own. But factor in that the Gulf Islands are now an emerging wine region and you’ve got a winning formula.
The islands of Salt Spring, Pender, Saturna, Quadra, Gabriola, Hornby and Denman are home to a small batch of intimate wineries, meaderies and cideries. There’s less than 80 acres of grapes planted throughout these islands, supplying 11 wineries. Yet, the Gulf Islands are recognized as a unique Geographical Indication.
The Gulf Islands have a longer growing season compared to other regions as their proximity to the Pacific Ocean means there is a lower risk of frost in the spring and fall and little or no snow in the winter. These areas are more suitable for growing aromatic whites and lighter-style reds. But fine wines are also being made from tree fruits, berries and honey. Many island producers purchase grapes from the Okanagan to make fuller-bodied wines.
Agritourism is very strong on the islands where growing and food production is often family-based and deeply passionate. You’ll find roadside stands and farm-gate shops offering up fresh local produce, honey, spring lamb, cheeses, baked goods, and, of course, wine.
Adventure lovers can partake in experiences unique to the coast such as ocean kayaking and diving, whale watching and deep sea fishing.
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