Vancouver Island Getaway: Blue Grouse Winery

 

I’m going to start this post by saying that photos are not enough to convey how beautiful Blue Grouse Estate Winery is. Wine lover or not, it is somewhere that deserves a place on your bucket list. To visit Blue Grouse Estate Winery is to enjoy a piece of Vancouver Island that appeals to all senses, and whether you prefer a glass of white or red, you won’t leave disappointed. Thanks to my friend Janette of Ava to Zoe, we recently enjoyed a 2-night girls trip to Vancouver Island, which included a night at the property and I’m sharing about our experience below.

When you first arrive at Blue Grouse Estate Winery– located in Duncan on Vancouver Island- you enter a large door that leads to an open space tasting room that overlooks the vines. Inside and out, it’s a breathtaking location that makes the wine-bearing landscape the star of the show. Whether you come for the afternoon to enjoy a wine tasting or spend a night at the aptly named Grouse House, you’ll find it impossible to ignore the beauty of the location.

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than sipping on wine and learning about how the glass you’re enjoying was cultivated, and worse ways to wake up than in a beautiful room overlooking the grapes themselves.

I’m still a novice when it comes to wine and my knowledge can at best be described as ground-level, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy learning about wine, the different varieties, and how where it’s grown-the terroir– influences the wines themselves. And of course it’s important not to overlook the winemakers, the individuals who shape each variety produced, and in the case of Blue Grass Estate Winery, that would be the affable Bailey Williamson, whose passion and knowledge are contagious.

After arriving, Janette and I were introduced to Bailey who gave us a tour of the main property, the large building which houses the tasting room, gift shop area, and production area + wine cellars. Outside of the beauty of the location, this was a highlight for me and having the opportunity to speak with Bailey about his winemaking journey and methodology was fascinating. As a former chef, Bailey’s attention to the quality of what he produces is palpable and I enjoyed hearing him speak about the different varieties grown on the property and how they differ from those found in the Okanagan. 

If you have a basic knowledge of wine, you’ll know that different grape varieties thrive in different climates. Since Vancouver Island has cooler temperatures than central BC, this influences the wines that are produced on the property. With the grapes grown on location, Bailey’s method is to let the terroir of the location influence the wines he produces, rather than trying to manipulate the grapes into a wine they’re not.

I enjoyed hearing Bailey speak about how he envisions the future of the winery and the wines it produces and learning about the varieties grown on the property was an engaging lesson in winemaking. Having him walk us through a variety of the wines he produces was an enjoyable way to taste the wines themselves while gaining a deeper appreciation for them. I can’t express my gratitude enough to Bailey for taking the time to show us around the property and invite us to share in his knowledge and passion.

Looking for a Vancouver Island getaway? A night in the Grouse House won’t leave you disappointed

Following the wine tasting, Janette and I got to enjoy a night in the Grouse House, a beautiful two-bedroom suite located on the property among the vines. We only stayed for one night and I think it’s safe to say we wish we could have stayed longer; nothing about this beautiful location disappoints. As a ‘bed and bottle’ retreat, this space is perfect for couples or friends looking for a scenic and tranquil getaway.

Complete with a full kitchen and eating area, this suite is modern rustic right out of your Pinterest dreams. Stay cozy inside, tucked away in one of the luxurious beds, or take a bottle of wine out onto the patio to enjoy a breathtaking view of the vineyard and surrounding landscape. It’s hard to say which is more beautiful from the patio: ending the day with a glass of wine as the sun sets, or enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the bright morning sun. 

And if a little adventure is something you seek, the winery is just a short drive away from shops, restaurants, and other local attractions. Come for a tasting, or stay for a night (or two!), Blue Grouse Winery embodies everything that is beautiful about Vancouver Island. If you’re a wine lover, this place definitely deserves a place on your bucket list!

For more info about Blue Grouse Winery and the wine varieties they offer, visit their website and find them on social media: Facebook | Instagram

Looking for other travel ideas on Vancouver Island? Check out this post!

Photo credit: Janette Shearer, Ava to Zoe

Vancouver Island Getaway: A Night at Hummingbird Haven B and B

When I think of Vancouver Island I think of slowing down, Island time, of art, culture, and a way of life that’s unique from anywhere on the Mainland. Even though I was born and raised in the Lower Mainland, I haven’t spent a lot of time on Vancouver Island, but any time I’ve spent there has been memorable. Last month  I had the chance to travel to Vancouver Island with one of my best friends, Janette from Ava to Zoe, and enjoyed a night at the lovely Hummingbird Haven B and B. Our little two-night getaway ended at this charming B and B located in Chemanis and the owners made us feel warm and welcome, like we were family visiting rather than B and B guests.
 

The idea behind this getaway to Vancouver Island was to relax before the busy-ness of Sumer Vacation.

I was grateful that Janette invited me on this girls getaway and we made the most of our time to relax and unwind. I had never been to Duncan or Chemanis, so I was looking forward to visiting these places that hold a special place in Janette’s heart (her Grandmother used to live there). If you are looking for quaint charm for your next visit to Vancouver Island, Hummingbird Haven is a perfect location, a combination of artsy charm and cozy. The owners Peggy and Brad are both working artists, and it was really interesting having the opportunity to chat with them about what they do- Peggy creates pottery and Brad creates digital art.
 

These B and B owners have a kind, warm spirit that makes you feel at home and welcome.

 
After arrivng and settling in, we enjoyed a chat with Peggy in her garden, learning about how she and Brad came to live on Vancouver Island and how their creative journies brought them there, along with their vision to create a sustainable accommodation option for visitors to the area. As we talked, we enjoyed walking through her garden where some of her pieces are on display, as well as getting a tour of her and Brad’s studios. It was interesting to hear about their artistic backgrounds and both shared with us their respective processes from start to finish. 
 
 
 
 
While we were chatting, we learned about their recent opening of the B and B (it’s only been open since the Spring) and their hopes for what they want to offer to guests: a unique experience where guests can indulge in the local art scene while staying somewhere focused on sustainability. Peggy and Brad are both plant-based, and provide delicious plant-based options for their guests (our breakfast while staying there was a yummy homemade meal, all plant-based and made by Peggy herself). When our conversation turned to food, it was insightful hearing their approach to food and the efforts they make to offer an eco-friendly experience for guests. To build on this vision they are also hoping to add Tesla art and wine tours later this Summer and Brad gave us a ride in his Tesla so we could see for ourselves what they have in mind; something fun and unique that future guests will get to enjoy.
 
Both Peggy and Brad are active in the local community and art scene and are a wealth of knowledge for visitors looking to make the most out of their time there. Ask them for a restaurant recommendation, local attractions, or places to visit and they will point you in the right direction. Part of the appeal of a B and B is the unique charm and atmosphere, and Hummingbird Haven B and B delivers this on all fronts.
    
 
After enjoying our breakfast with the hummingbirds (the B and B lives up to its name!) the morning we were leaving, Peggy was opening her kiln and it was the perfect finishing touch to our visit getting to see her take out the most recent finished pieces. As a souvenir of our time there I bought one of them, a green plate made using a special technique, something I’ll enjoy as a reminder of our time there. To say that Peggy and Brad are warm hosts is an understatement and their hospitality elevates the time spent at Hummingbird B and B, making it a lovely option for anyone planning a visit to the area.
 
If you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island, a visit to this small town is a perfect place to slow down and unwind. The area surrounding Hummingbird Haven B and B is scenic and serene, minutes from the water and close to amenities such as restaurants, shops, and artist studios. And if soaking in the local culture and atmosphere is something you hope to do, a stay at Hummingbird Haven B and B won’t leave you disappointed. If you go, tell them Kat and Janette sent you. 😉
 
 
If you would like to learn more about Hummingbird Haven B and B, make sure to visit their website and find them on social media: Instagram | Facebook
 
Photo credit: Janette Shearer, Ava to Zoe

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