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Photo Courtesy of Merridale Cidery, Distillery & Bistro.

The nearby wine-lovers’ destination you’ve never heard of

Everyone knows about Napa Valley, but if you head north you’re less than three hours away from a wine-lovers' destination fewer have heard of: the Cowichan Valley.

Book a Victoria Sea and Sky Package from Kenmore Air and Clipper Vacations to get to Victoria, and the Cowichan Valley is just a few miles north of the city. The Sea and Sky Package is fun because you get to experience the beautiful waters of the Puget Sound and Salish Sea on your boat ride, then sweeping views of the mountains and water on your float plane ride.

Once you’re in Victoria, it’s a short journey to the Cowichan Valley. The warmest place in Canada, the area has microclimates created by the mountains that are ideal for growing wine. It’s even described by some as “Mediterranean.”

There are several vineyards in the area that produce outstanding wines including the award-winning Unsworth Vineyards. Those who prefer cider are in luck: Merridale produces delicious apple draughts and spirits as well as delightful eats like cider-leavened bread, brick oven pizzas and other foods that pair well with their beverages.

It’s easy to reach Cowichan Valley from accommodations in downtown Victoria but you can also find lodging in “Canada’s Wine Country” to immerse yourself in the experience. The Villa Eyrie Resort is a great choice. This Mediterranean-inspired villa hotel boasts unforgettable views of the Olympic Mountain Range. It also has a Tuscan Spa where you can unwind and enjoy the serene beauty of the Valley.

To learn more and start planning your own adventure to Canada’s wine country, visit