You can call it fall or call it autumn—whatever you call it, it’s a beautiful time of year to do some serious wine touring. There are several distinctive wine regions in BC: the Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, Kootenays, Lillooet, Okanagan Valley, Shuswap, Similkameen Valley, Thompson Valley, and Vancouver Island. Whichever area you choose, the terroir of each region shines through in all their wines. And to make it more appealing, all these regions are beautiful in their own way. Regardless of which area you decide to visit, know that you are in for a treat.
Things tend to slow down a little in the fall as we get used to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Gone are the days of 30+°C. Instead, most areas stay a balmy 18 to 25°C. Taking a break in September and October to explore BC’s wine regions also means lower accommodation costs.
If you haven’t been wine tasting in the past few years, you’ll notice a few things have changed. There are fewer people allowed in the tasting areas, and many wineries, big and small, take reservations for tasting times. This equates to more one-on-on service for you and your group.
Let’s not forget the views! There is such diversity in our wine growing regions you could be awash in a lush green valley in the Gulf Islands or Vancouver Island or experiencing all the brilliant colours of fall in the more arid areas.
Fall is also harvest season. Depending on the previous month’s weather, harvesting in the vineyards starts in mid to late August and runs through to October. There’s something special about standing above a large vat of grapes being crushed while sipping on a previous vintage. You and I might not notice it, but each harvest, winemakers are presented with slightly different flavour profiles of their grapes, depending on the previous months’ temperatures and the amount of rainfall. Then they meticulously decide how to treat these grapes and get to work and make magic happen in wine cellars all across BC.
Let’s not forget that our wine growing regions also grow some mighty tasty produce. That equates to delicious meals served at the dozens of fine restaurants attached to wineries. From fresh seafood to foraged morsels, you are in for a taste treat.
Wine touring in the fall should be a relaxing time for your group. Don’t rush it. Stay awhile and enjoy the wine, the food and the views. Reservations are recommended for dining and tasting, and you can also book with a wine tour company and let them do the driving. Many will look after tasting fees and reservations and all you have to do is sit back, relax and anticipate what awaits you at your next destination.