North Central Island
This is where fishermen toss buckets of fish on boats with names like the ShirleyAnn and farmers have sheep dogs that actually herd sheep. Everyone here has a purpose and they’re as fiercely independent as the blackberries that grow wild along the roads.
The Comox Valley’s unique microclimate provides a warm, long growing season to over 450 farms. Try the water buffalo cheeses; they go with anything from the valley’s seven wineries (including Quadra Island’s). The region produces whites, reds, mead, fruit wines, plus a red ice wine. Head over to the restored mining town of Cumberland for a Forest Fog ale from their craft brewery. Or try the gin with the local botanicals at the distillery in Courtenay. Don’t miss the field to flask single malt in Campbell River.
The islands off this coast are full of secrets, like Denman Island being home to Canada’s first organic chocolate-making facility (the bar with the raspberries is as west coast as can be). Warning: sometimes the only sound on the islands is from the eagles.
Campbell River makes the claim to be the province’s salmon capital (Port Alberni, on the western side of the island says, not so). Charter a boat and a guide or head to the docks and buy direct. Seafood is the food of the region and regally celebrated during the 10-day BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival in June.
In the heart of the Comox Valley, on a slope facing the Georgia Strait, 40 Knots Vineyard & Estate Winery crafts wines distinctly shaped by a windswept, sun-soaked microclimate.
40 Knots was first established in 2005, by a retired Tug Boat Captain who bought the property so that he could be close to the ocean. At first nothing grew in the sandy, gravel based soil. Not until the Captain discovered that this gravel plateau was perfect for growing grapes. With a microclimate that is generally hotter than the surrounding area, a sand and gravel based soil, and a windswept ocean location to keep the grapes dry, 40 Knots has become Comox Valley’s largest vineyard and winery.
Named for the gale force winds that often strike the coast, 40 Knots embraces its unique microclimate, adorning its label with swallows as a symbol of home. With wines like Whitecaps, Sea Haven, and Spindrift, the connection to the wind and sea is undeniable.
When Owners, Brenda Hetman-Craig, and Layne Craig purchased the winery in 2014 they recognized the natural elements which made this vineyard and winery so special. They continue to nurture this terroir with environmentally ethical farming practices, augmented by Layne’s background in agriculture. They also make use of traditional wine making methods under the direction of esteemed chief wine maker Matt Dumayne of Okanagan Crush Pad.
With dual successful business management careers and Layne’s background in agriculture, Brenda and Layne were drawn to the beautiful Comox Valley, where they could make a change, reconnect with their roots, and create a family farm business that could last generations. With its proximity to a vibrant tourism and economic development community – not to mention the Canadian Forces Base, 19 Wing Comox, which speaks to Layne’s piloting soul – 40 Knots was simply too good to pass up.
Now Brenda and Layne get to spend their days with customers in the cellar tasting lounge, touring the farm and facility, meeting industry customers at their place of business, or serving at wine festivals and events.
Not only that, but they get to produce distinct, lively, yet balanced wines bursting with aromas and lingering flavours. 40 Knots also offers their Stall Speed line, drawing inspiration from Layne’s piloting experience, Stall Speed offers a robust, full-bodied red and aromatic Merlot Ice Wine.
With their unique island placement, 40 Knots has dynamic views to accompany their rich and versatile wines. Visitors can enjoy the cellar tasting lounge, vineyard terrace, wine shop, and winery tours, or decide to use the remarkable space as their next event venue.
The diverse array of attractions offered by the Vineyard means every day is different for Brenda and Layne. Full of new encounters, discoveries, and challenges. And with family and community at the forefront of every decision, Brenda and Layne are building a legacy that can help define the Comox Valley, while forging a path that they can share with their daughters and grandchildren.
Blue Moon Estate Winery
Our award winning fruit wines are crafted from 100% BC organic fruit, picked at the peak of the harvest and created in small batches. From the orchards and berry patches of our farm and our fellow farmers, come wines crafted from apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and black currents.
Next time you’re looking for a dry to off-dry table wine to have with your meal, a refresher for the patio, or a dessert/appertif wine to linger with – surprise yourself with a delicious fruit wine from Blue Moon.
The winery and Blue Moon Kitchen, are located at Nature’s Way Farm, a sweet little blueberry farm, 5 minutes from downtown Courtenay or from the Inland Island Highway and 20 minutes from Mount Washington.
Please see the Food page of this site to find out about our special events at the farm.
Our winery name, Blue Moon, exemplifies the individuality and uniqueness of our wines. We know that our wines are an expression of the harvest and reflective of the fruit and the place that it is grown.
The adventure began in 2004 when George slipped a real estate ad for an organic blueberry farm onto my desk. “Are you nuts?” as I crumbled it up and tossed it into the recycle bin. We had just moved from the high Arctic and I had a “little” garden in mind, not 4,000 blueberry plants and a greenhouse operation! After playing with the idea for about a week in my mind I told George that I wanted to go look at it. He then said “Are you Nuts” but then he humoured me as men do and we drove to look at the farm. The rest is history they say.
It has been ten years of learning plant science, learning patience, growing fruit and 5 years since the selling of our first wine.
I am a Landscape Architect, interested in ethnobotany and herbal medicines and George, an Engineer who comes from a Swiss family who made wine out of anything available and who followed this tradition and made all sort of liquid beverages in University, embarked on a path of passion and risk. George took to the science and chemistry of wine and left me to make things “look pretty.” We both believe life is really short and once should embrace the opportunity to do what you love to do.
We know how important great fruit is to the finished product. We are committed to organic and sustainable farming methods. All of the fruit we use is hand-harvested, allowing us to choose only the very best fruit for our wine. We love to create unique and exciting wines and we try to let this come through in every bottle we produce.
Leave behind all of your preconceptions about fruit wine as you walk through our door. You will be treated to our well crafted fruit wines and a unique experience in our intimate tasting room.