The Saanich Peninsula has several wineries, breweries and a cider house that could keep any wine tourist busy for at least a full day. One of the newer wineries in the region is De Vine Vineyards, located a short drive from Victoria and a route that can easily be incorporated into your touring schedule. For 2012, the winery will open for the season on the first weekend in May for Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 12 – 5 pm and can be booked for private tastings.

During the off season the winery has been busy transforming the tasting room with upgrades and expansion and there is now access to the West wine barrel room so visitors can see Winemaker Natalie Windsor at work. The winery will still feature the glass artwork of family member, Chris Windsor, of Yesterday’s Sand.

The winery sources grapes from the six acres of Estate fruit it has planted in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Gruner Veltliner, as well as grapes from the Okanagan, and will produce 6 plus different wines this year under the watchful eye of veteran Consulting Winemaker, Ken Winchester. Of note is the fact that De Vine Vineyards is the Canadian pioneer grape grower of Gruner Veltliner, and Austrian native white grape that does well in cooler climates such as that of Vancouver Island.

The winery will ramp up to approximately 1500 cases in 2012 including some Okanagan Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, a Rhone style white (Hermitage Blanc) and the Three Graces, a white blend made from De Vine’s own vineyards and another close by and a Dornfelder.

De Vine Vineyards is currently sold out of most wine, but does have an Okanagan 2010 Viognier and a small amount of 2010 Epiphany, fortified wine. Visit the Annual Taste – Victoria Food and Wine Festival (www.victoriataste.com) in July if you can’t make it to the winery – to sample De Vine Vineyard’s new releases.

~ Cassandra Anderton

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