Wineries are sprouting up in the cooler Kootenay climate

Here’s a list of the 8 Kootenay wineries and their agritourism options

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Trevor Miller, owner of Mountain Soul Wines, at farmers market booth.

Mountain Soul Wines in Trail is our region's newest winery. Owner Trevor Miller, along with his wife and children, embarked on their winemaking journey in 2020. — Photo courtesy Mountain Soul Wines Facebook

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 eight 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 Trail, opened in 2020. Their secret? Building their vineyard and business as a family labour of love.

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 information and advance tour bookings.

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

Valley of the Springs Winery is located in Nakusp. You’ll have to do some wine tastings to discover the Kootenay terroir. — Photo courtesy Valley of the Springs winery website

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, with its expansive view of the vineyard, is perfect for hosting small events up to 50 people. The winery can also host weddings. In the summer, the vineyard offers “Picnics in the Vines,” featuring a 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.

Mountain Soul Vineyard and Winery

Where: 392 Columbia Gardens Rd, Trail, B.C., V1R 4W6
Good to know: This boutique family-run winery and vineyard is located on 21 scenic acres overlooking the Columbia River. Mountain Soul Wine products, including their 2021 line-up of Rose, Riesling, Chardonnay and Piquette vintages, are available at farmers markets across the West Kootenays as well as via online sale and local pick-up. A new tasting booth addition to their outdoor patio and the planting of new vines is on the horizon for this up-and-coming new winery. 

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

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 and the Winemaker’s Tour and Tasting, which is a private tour hosted by the head winemaker. Summer events at the Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery include Food & Wine Pairings, yoga sessions in the vineyard and Friday night live music events.

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.

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. Wine tastings and a delicious charcuterie with locally-sourced ingredients is available on the outdoor patio overlooking the scenic vineyard.

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. The farm’s fruits go into all of the William Tell Family Estate products, which include hard ciders, Pinot Noir Sparkling wine and cider vinegars. The estate is open for private appointments only.

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

Wineries in Wynndel

Wynnwood Cellars

Where: 5566 Highway 3A, Wynndel, B.C. V0B2N2
Good to know: This vineyard above Duck Lake was first planted in 2007 and now yields finely-crafted wine varieties, including Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Wynnwood Cellars has a tasting room for visitors which is open seven days a week. This story explains the meeting of the two future owners of Wynnwood Cellars and how the vineyard was their joint destiny.

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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