Much of British Columbia’s 944,735 square kilometres is wilderness. Roughly 75 per cent of the province is mountainous, 60 per cent is forested, and only around five per cent is arable.
Although the bulk of our 302 wineries are in the Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands – with 21 in the Kootenays, Lillooet, Shuswap and the Thompson Valley – the entire productive vineyard area in British Columbia is just over 10,300 acres.
Our best homegrown wines are being grown on a total area of 41.7 square kilometres – just over 0.0044 per cent of the province! That’s one reason that our highest quality, local homegrown wines are often more expensive than comparable imported wines.
Nevertheless, great local whites can be found for under $20 and exceptional locally-grown white wines can cost less that $30.
Near legendary in the local scene, white wines from the Okanagan Valley’s Burrowing Owl Estate Winery routinely sell for $25 – $35 – if you can find them. However, whites from their associated Calliope Wines line can often be found for less than $16.
When they’re not making uniquely crafted whiskys, rums, gins and liqueurs – as well as artisan vermouth – the folks at Vancouver Island’s de Vine Wines & Spirits on Old West Saanich Road, north of Victoria make equally unique wines.
De Vine’s estate plantings of this Austrian specialty white wine grape in 2008 gave them a three year advantage over Culmina’s Okanagan Valley vines. Devine Grü-V $17.99 opens up with green apple and lemon rind notes before veering into pear and then peach. The Grüner Veltliner signature sprinkling of white pepper is clear from first sniff through to the finish.
Originally planted and opened by Bill Montgomery in 2011, Vancouver Island’s 40 Knots Estate Winery was revitalized when Layne Robert Craig & Brenda Hetman-Craig bought the winery and moved to Comox from Fort St.John in 2014.
A cross between the German varieties Muller Thurgau and Siegerrebe, early-ripening aromaic Ortega is a favourite of many Island wineries. Peppery gooseberry aromas open up 40 Knots Ortega $21.99 with that distinct green table grape-iness reminiscent of Muscat not far behind. Lemon and floral grapefruit aromas and flavours fill the mid palate.
Find many more options for affordable top-end B.C. whites in this article at campbellrivermirror.com
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