There are many great daytrips from Victoria, BC. Within a 45-minute drive from Victoria, you can reach the Cowichan Valley, which is home to the region’s wineries. There are 14 unique wineries in this area offering everything from boutique wines to Vancouver Island specialities, such as blackberry wine.
The Cowichan Valley Wine Festival is a wonderful opportunity to sample the flavours of the “Napa of the North.” From August 1st to 31st, visitors can enjoy a self-guided wine tour of 13 different wineries. When you purchase a ticket for $20, you receive a souvenir wine glass and a complimentary tasting flight of up to three wines at each winery for the entire month of August. At each winery, you can collect a stamp. If you collect stamps from every winery, you will be entered into a draw to win a free case of wine.
You can enhance your visit to the Cowichan Valley by visiting some of the nearby attractions and activities. We recommend the following itinerary:
1. Brentwood Bay Ferry to Mill Bay
Welcome aboard Vancouver Island’s most beautiful shortcut. This scenic 25-minute journey takes you from Brentwood Bay to the beautiful seaside town of Mill Bay. If you purchase your ticket in advance at Thrifty Foods, the fare for vehicles and passengers will be reduced.
2. Lunch at Bridgeman’s Bistro
This beautiful seaside café is located at the Mill Bay Marina offering beautiful views of Saanich inlet. You can take out for a picnic at one of the wineries, or you can dine in and enjoy brunch.
3. Visit Duncan Farmer’s Market
Held every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, the Duncan Farmer’s Market showcases local artisans, farmers, bakers, wineries and distilleries. You can walk around and visit more than 80 vendors!
4. Cowichan Valley Wine Festival
Spend your afternoon visiting your choice of the region’s wineries. It is strongly recommended to reserve your tasting time in advance.
5. Walk it off at the Kinsol Trestle
The Kinsol Trestle is a historic wooden railway trestle located near Shawinigan Lake.
It is open to cyclists and hikers. It is one of the tallest free-standing timber rail trestle structures in the world. It is a perfect place to walk off all the delicious food and wine from the afternoon.
6. Dinner at Unsworth Winery
There is no better way to finish a day of excitement than over a relaxing glass of wine. We recommend doing that at Unsworth Winery, where you can enjoy delicious food while you are seated right in the heart of the vineyard. Unsworth Winery is one of the closest wineries to the Kinsol Trestle. Reservations are highly recommended.