Late Summer of 2014 I toured a winery in Duncan called Blue Grouse Estate Winery. The vines had history, and the wine was good, but the tasting room left little to the imagination. When I met up with the Winemaker, Bailey Williamson, for our tasting we did it outdoors on a picnic table. Towards the entrance of the property, a new winery and tasting room was under construction. It wasn’t ready for the 2014 wine touring season, but it is open now, and I was fortunate enough to return for the grand opening celebration. Now Blue Grouse Winery has a tasting room equal to the wines they produce. If you are spending any time in the Cowichan Valley, you must stop in Duncan and visit Blue Grouse. Take in the view and drink a few glasses of wine. I dare you not to buy a bottle or two.
Here is a reminder of my tasting with Bailey from 2014.
The vines haven’t changed, nor have the team that makes the wine, but what a difference a building makes. In 2014, I tasted wine in a building that had once been a home and had been converted to a winery and tasty room. Today, at the celebration, I am welcomed into a building that was built for one purpose. Making wine and enjoying it while being surrounded by the natural beauty of its location.
The new winery has two floors. The main floor has the wine bar where most tasting will take place. Sip a glass of Blue Grouse Sparkling or Estate Ortega at the bar or enjoy it on the patio that edges right up on the vineyard. Of course, I’m here in mid-May, so the vines have only just begun to fill out. Imagine enjoying the wines when the vineyard is bursting with grapes on the vine.
There is a second floor for tastings as well. A bit small than the main floor, but with unbeatable views. You can look down onto the main level our out over the vineyard. I’d choose the vineyard myself.
There is a third level, but that is reserved in the lowest level, and it is for the making of wine. If you are lucky, you may get a tour where you will see where they hand riddle the sparkling wine. On this occasion Bailey tapped a cask for us to sample one of the wines he is aging. Very cool experience to taste the wine this way.
The winery isn’t the only new development at Blue Grouse Estate Winery though. They have come up with a new label for wines they produce using grapes grown throughout BC. Bailey hand picks grapes from other vineyards in BC and then combines them with the estate grown grapes from Blue Grouse. The result is Quill and it is now available at the Blue Grouse Wine Shop and tasting room.
There is no excuse not to visit Blue Grouse Estate Winery the next time you are on Vancouver Island. The wine will please your palette, and the building and view will astound your eyes. It is worth a trip over just for a visit in my opinion.
- Is wine tasting free? yes
- Can you eat on site? with the current tasting room set up you are welcome to pack a picnic, order a glass of wine and enjoy the patio, come 2015 they may offer other options for you
- Where can I buy these wines? Certainly at the Wine Shop itself, check here for a retailer, or you can purchase directly online. .
- Are they on Facebook and Twitter? Yes, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.