Wineries are sprouting up in the cooler Kootenay climate

Here’s a list of the 7 Kootenay wineries and their agritourism options

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Valley of the Springs is our region’s newest winery.

Valley of the Springs is our region’s newest winery. You’ll have to do some wine tastings to discover the Kootenay terroir. — Photo courtesy Valley of the Springs winery website

Real estate and wineries share an important feature—it’s all about location! The Kootenays have a colder climate than British Columbia’s famous grape-growing regions, such as the Okanagan. However, grape vines can grow here, and winemakers are slowly increasing in the Kootenays, creating a new emerging wine region in B.C. There are now seven commercial vineyards in the Kootenays.

These winemakers depend upon warm microclimates to grow grapes here and hence develop a Kootenay terroir—the characteristic taste and flavour imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.

Valley floors and lands surrounding big lakes are home to these warmer microclimates. For example, Kootenay Lake is the fifth largest lake in B.C. and moderates the local climate.

With its milder climate, Creston has been home to several wineries for many years. But vineyards are sprouting up in other Kootenay locations. The newest one is in Nakusp, opened in 2019. Their secret? Picking a variety of grapes that will grow in a cooler climate.

According to the British Columbia Wine Institute, the most planted grape varietal in the Kootenays is Pinot Noir, followed by others including Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Maréchal Foch. And with climate change, grape cultivation conditions will be changing and migrating north.

Whether you’re looking for a local beverage, wanting to sample the Kootenay terroir or planning an agritourism visit, here’s a list of the wineries (and one meadery) in the Kootenay region. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to check their websites or social media channels for changes in openings due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

WEST KOOTENAY

Wineries in Nakusp

Valley of the Springs Winery

Where: 890 Alexander Road, Nakusp, B.C. V0G1R1
Good to know: The tasting room is open seasonally from May to October and by appointment in the off season. Private tours include a hike to the nearby Naksup Hot Springs, and visitors can stay at their bed-and-breakfast King Suite. The winery also offers wedding packages.

Valley of the Springs Winery does an exceptional job of describing their unique microclimate and terroir if you want to take a deep dive. And this story explains how owners Jody and Brenda Scott started this first vineyard in the Arrow Lakes Valley.

Wineries in Trail

Columbia Gardens Vineyard and Winery

Where: 9340 Station Road, Trail, B.C. V1R4W6
Good to know: In the Burl Tasting Room and Gift Shop, you can sample all the wines, including their award-winning De Jager’s Port Style Wine. The venue is available for hosting events including weddings. In the summer, the vineyard caters picnics in the vines with a picnic basket filled with tasty goodies along with your choice of a bottle of wine. Visitors are also welcomed to stay at the Grape Escape Guest House.

This story tells how South African–born Tersia and Ben DeJager ended up as owners of Columbia Gardens Vineyard and Winery.

EAST KOOTENAY

Wineries in Creston

Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery

Where: 1140 - 27th Avenue South, Creston, B.C. V0B1G1
Good to know: The tasting room and wine store are open seasonally between Easter and Thanksgiving. Two specialized winemaker tours and tastings are available: Estate Tour and Tasting; Winemaker’s Tour and Tasting. Here’s an offer from their website: “Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we are offering to send out your wine free of charge, just use promo code ‘winetime.’ Minimum order for free shipping is 12 bottles of wine.”

Red Bird Estate Winery

Where: 1046 Lamont Road, Creston, B.C. V0B1G1
Good to know: Owners Shannon and Rémi Cardinal offer tastings and sales at the winery. You can join their wine club with numerous benefits.

This story tells of the owners’ journey from eastern Canada to France to the Okanagan and finally to Creston to open the valley’s newest vineyard.

Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery is an established and well-known winery in the Creston Valley’s milder climate.

Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery is an established and well-known winery in the Creston Valley’s milder climate. — Photo courtesy Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Facebook page

Skimmerhorn Winery and Vineyard

Where: 1218 27th Avenue South, Creston, B.C. V0B1G1
Good to know: This winery includes a tasting room, wine shop and Bistro. The Bistro opens in the spring with a patio expansion.

William Tell Family Estate

Where: P.O. Box 204, Creston, B.C. V0B1G0
Good to know: JRD Farms is a mixed fruit orchard and vineyard. This spring they are planting two grape varieties new to the Creston Valley to compliment their 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine. The farm’s fruits go into all of the William Tell Family Estate products, which include hard ciders. The estate is open for private appointments only.

Wineries in Wynndel

Wynnwood Cellars

Where: 5566 Highway 3A, Wynndel, B.C. V0B2N2
Good to know: With the first plantings in 2007, this vineyard above Duck Lake has a tastings room for visitors.

This story explains the meeting of the two future owners of Wynnwood Cellars and how the vineyard was their joint destiny.

Red Bird Estate Winery is the newest vineyard in the Creston Valley.

Red Bird Estate Winery is the newest vineyard in the Creston Valley. — Photo courtesy Red Bird Estate Winery Facebook page

Virginia Rasch

Virginia is a writer and editor with KPI Media. She is an avid outdoor recreationist in all seasons and has lived in the Kootenays for over 15 years. With degrees in the natural sciences, she has worked as a tour guide, an environmentalist, a writer, and an editor of books and scientific publications. Virginia now brings her passion for everything green to KootenayBiz. View all of Virginia Rasch’s articles

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