- Ortega: A grape originating in Germany produces a crisp white, perfect with salads and local seafood, especially the delicate Dungeness crab. Cheese: mild Cheddar and Gouda, Brie and Camembert.
- Pinot Gris: A full body white. Very good with white meat, fish, and shellfish. Cheese: Chèvre or a bloomy rind cheese like a Brie.
- Gewürztraminer: A fragrant, spicy white ideal with fish chowders, smoked fish, curried mussels, charcuterie, ham or a simple smoked sausage on a bun. Cheese: semi-hard and aged cheeses or a briny Feta.
- Pinot Blanc: A full-bodied white good with anything from the sea or Island-raised poultry and pork. Cheese: a locally inspired Gruyere or a clothbound Cheddar.
- Bubbles go with everything or nothing at all. This is the place for the classic: bubbles (white or rosé) and a bit of the ocean from freshly harvested local oysters. No need for a celebration.
- Cabernet Franc: This juicy, herbal red is well suited to duck, lamb, and burgers. Cheese: a young blue or a hard goat’s milk cheese.
- Maréchal Foch: A hearty, full-bodied red, which matches well with grilled meats and hearty stews. Cheese: well-aged Romano style or a crumbly blue.
- Pinot Noir: A medium-bodied red that pairs well with local lamb but also good with salmon, halibut, pork and chicken. Cheese: Chèvre or a rind-washed soft cheese.
- Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, apple and pear are some of the local fruits used to make these table and dessert wines and aperitifs. The drier ones pair well with seafood and pork, and the sweeter varieties make a perfect base for sangria and cooking marinades. For an adult sundae, drizzle over island-made ice-cream.
- The bees in this region feed on the blossoms of local fruit and flowers making a distinct honey and so a distinct mead. The dry ones pair well with light bodied savouries. Those with an ice-wine quality are dessert. The sweeter ones, the melomels (fruit meads), and port-style meads pair well with chocolate, apple pie or crème brûlée.
- The cider makers of this region often use heritage fruit which contribute to the unique flavours in these ciders. Like craft beers, cider has moved from the sundeck to the dinner table. From dry to sweet, barrel-aged, hop or berry infused, cider pairs well with shellfish, fish, pork and chicken. The older, English style ciders love stews and grilled meats. Fortified cysers (mead and apple) are a good dessert.
The micro-brew renaissance continues. Classic styles share shelf space with creative new brews, often infused with local berries and fruit and always with great names evoking this place. Watch for special events with brew masters and chefs featuring only local.
- India Pale Ale (I.P.A.): The hoppiest beer. Its strong flavour pairs well with spicy dishes, red meat, and robust cheeses.
- Lager: Crisp and blonde, light and versatile. Goes with all pasture and ocean foods.
- Pilsner: A clean, refreshing brew with more malt than a lager, but pairs with similar foods.
- Dark Lager: Dry, flowery and often with a caramel sweetness. Pairs well with foods cooked with fresh island herbs, like chicken, calamari, game, lamb and sausage.
- Brown Ale: The smooth, slightly nutty flavour makes a good match for cheese and charcuterie boards.
- Stout and Porter: These dark brews, with their chocolate and coffee notes, work well with anything from the barbecue.
- This is the place to have a gin and tonic. Vancouver Island makes an award-winning British style gin, but it hasn’t stopped there. As the cocktail culture grows, so does the production of all spirits, often including local botanicals. Let one of the talented bartenders create something very west coast. Snack on dried, seasoned seaweed from the local waters, and imagine the distillery angels carrying their share away on the sea air.