The southern Gulf Islands’ siren call is strong so beware. The epicentre of west coast lifestyle, Salt Spring, the largest of the islands, is on the New York Times list of “52 Places To Visit in 2016”. The island reveres its artisan culture. Try chefs who celebrate local harvests, afarmers’ market (one of them in a church meadow), and the many farmgates. Besides the unsurpassed produce, there’s…
- Cheeses from two award-winning farms
- Mussels from a sustainable aqua farm
- A wood-fired, organic bakery
- An annual heritage apple festival
- A cidery
- Two wineries, one featuring the Zweigelt, an uncommon Austrian red that loves this region (like everyone and everything else)
Galiano, Pender, Mayne, and Saturna, the other islands included in the southern Gulf Islands chain, are as beautiful but more rural and less populated. Each hosts a farmer’s market (islanders love coaxing the land), but Pender and Saturna have great success with cool climate vines, which thrive on the sea air. The biggest attraction is Saturna’s annual lamb barbecue, an institution since 1950.
All the islands love their festivals; no need to dress up, just get loose and bring an appetite because there will be food and dancing. Body and soul are equal partners here.
Garry Oaks Winery
Classically-inspired wines with a spirit of adventure!
“This winery owns one of the best sites for growing grapes on the coast… [and has]… one of the best teams in the wine industry. Marcel is a natural in the vineyard. Elaine turns his well grown grapes into clean and complex wines.”
John Schreiner, BC Coastal Wine Tour Guide 2011
At Garry Oaks we grow our grapes naturally respecting the native conditions — sun, wind, soil – of our vineyard. We have been called meticulous and we freely confess to being so, from planning, planting and tending our vineyard, to coaxing out the unique and distinct qualities of each of our wines.
Garry Oaks wines truly express their site. Our whites carry a fine backbone of minerality from the stony fields in which they grow. Our reds are heightened by a touch of spice we occasionally taste in the air. All our wines have a trademark freshness that echoes the ocean breezes drifting over our island home.
Come visit our terraced vineyard overlooking the beautiful Burgogne Valley on Salt Spring Island, walk our labyrinth, and taste our award-winning wines.
Marcel Mercier and Elaine Kozak, Proprietors
Grape Grower and Wine Maker
“Among the artisan cheeses, family farms and dreadlocked inhabitants of dreamy Saltspring Island, you’ll find this tiny four-hectare estate winery that does us all proud. For those looking for a pinot gris with some richness, soak up this version full of nectarines, buckwheat honey and meyer lemon.” MacClean’s Magazine, 2013
Bright, aromatic dry white wine made from a blend of Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay. This rich smooth wine offers a juicy fruit nose and fresh peach, melon and ginger.
Vivacious dry rosé made from estate-grown Pinot Noir and Zweigelt grapes showing flavours of crushed strawberries and fruit punch with spicy notes (think Provence).
Elegant, silky riff on a classic red Burgundy. Aromas of red berry, something floral (roses? violets?) and smoke lead to flavours of raspberry and cherry livened by a touch of mint, tea and black pepper.
Vivacious, quaffable red wine made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Zweigelt. This light red wine surprises with a kaleidoscope of cherry-berry, spice and toasted oak flavours.
Lush, fruit-forward deeply colored red wine made from estate-grown Zweigelt grapes (the first grown on the coast). This wine shows black cherry, floral and spice flavours with smoky vanillin notes. No mistaking the gender of this wine (we call it wine with cleavage).
Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
You are invited to visit our tasting room and savour the wines our skilled and passionate winemaker Ian Baker has carefully crafted for your enjoyment. Taste for yourself why sommeliers from many of British Columbia’s best restaurants are choosing Sea Star wines for their customers. We are proud that 90% of the grapes used to make our wines are organically grown here on Pender Island. Perhaps you may choose to purchase a bottle to share in our licenced picnic areas, and enjoy the musical events and Art Exhibitions scheduled for your appreciation. Or join us when the “Cafe at Large” food truck will be providing excellent lunches, brunches and tapa choices 3 days a week. We also host the Wednesday Winery Market offering local fare including garden produce, fresh baking & preserves, fresh cut flowers and creations from island artisans.
We believe the 26 acre property is one of the most beautiful vineyards in British Columbia. Our upper vineyard beside the Winery terraces up to Mount Menzies and the lower vineyard cascades down to the beach. Tours can be arranged of both vineyards, the winery, and the Vintner’s terrace.
Our 2015 Portfolio includes 9 wines for you to enjoy:
- Stella Maris – Our blended Estate white wine aspires to live up to the name “Star of the Sea”. Estate grown Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega and Schönberger blended perfectly together.
- Siegerrebe – A delicious aromatic Germanic grape which Ian has crafted into this enticing dry wine providing crisp acidity with hints of spice as well as peach, apricot and grapefruit.
- Ortega – A dry version made with this aromatic Germanic grape hinting of floral notes along with grapefruit, apricot and melon and it has a crisp clean finish.
- Blanc de Noir – The Pinot Noir grapes are cold soaked on the skins and then pressed embellishing this refreshing wine with it’s appealing light rose colour. Hints of strawberry, cranberry and pomegranate.
- Encore – Carefully chosen vineyards in the sunbaked Oliver and Osoyoos regions of B.C. are the sources for the exceptional quality Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes crafted into this rich Meritage blend.
- Salish Sea – A blend of Ortega and Siegerrebe presenting the aromas of tropical fruit along with a fresh acidity creating a wine that is an excellent partner to seafood dishes.
- Estate Reserve Pinot Noir – Grown on the sun drenched upper terraces, aged in medium toast French Oak presenting black and white pepper, cherry, currant and coca.
- Poetry – Our Estate red dessert wine is a blend of Maréchal Foch and Island blackberries. This wine lends support to the expression that wine is “Poetry in a bottle”.
- Prose – Our Estate Riesling grapes embellished with Heritage Pender Island apples. Riesling is an aromatic grape presenting green apple and fruit notes, so it was a perfect match.
Sea Star Vineyards is a developing farm, and our Babydoll Southdown sheep are a popular attraction – the friendliest, best looking and most environmentally conscientious “lawn mowers” you’ll ever met. They are small stature sheep and well-suited to vineyard and orchard grass and weed control. You can’t get much more organic and sustainable than this ! Hudson is our “Platinum Retriever“ who will welcome you when you arrive. He takes his responsibility as official “Greeter” very seriously. His new companion is Hope, a Golden rescued by the SPCA and now enjoying the farm life.
In addition to grapes, we also grow a variety of fruit: kiwis, figs, honeyberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Fruit trees include: sweet and tart cherries, apples, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines. When the California poppies are in bloom the hillsides are awash in orange blossoms.
We look forward to your visit to the Winery, and please check our website for updates on the locations of wine stores, resorts and restaurants that offer our wines to their customers and guests. Our Tasting Room hours varies throughout the year so please refer to our website for updates.