Congratulations to Blue Grouse Estate Winery for making wines and helping out charities for their 10 years of being in business. It takes a lot of work. In case you haven’t tasted Blue Grouse wines or visited them on Vancouver Island, here is a press release for you. Cin cin.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery credit Derek Ford
This summer the team at Blue Grouse Estate Winery commemorates ten incredible years since Paul, Cristina and Paula Brunner purchased the property from the Kiltz family, who owned and operated the winery from 1989 to 2012. Over the past decade, many things have evolved at this Island winery including a beautiful, modernized tasting room, vineyard expansions, and a celebrated visitor experience.
To mark #TheBlueGrouchDecade, special offers are available this summer including celebratory glasses of sparkling wine for only $10, a special flat shipping fee of $10 for online purchases, as well as, a “bubble bar” pop-up on the mezzanine in August. To keep up with all the offers, sign up for the newsletter or simply reserve a tasting and join the party.
A deep look into the last 10 years.
Paul, Cristina and Bailey at Blue Grouse’s Grand Opening event in 2015 credit Derek Ford
A new Blue Grouse Winery
From 2012 to 2017 many renovations took place at Blue Grouse. In 2015 a bright, airy, modern tasting room that opens onto a sun-drenched patio was inaugurated. In alignment with the winery’s philosophy, many sustainable features were incorporated into the space.
Green touches include the thoughtful placement of windows that align with the sun/seasons and keep the heat out during summer but allow the sun to naturally warm the building in the winter. Barrel and sparkling wine rooms are placed underground to take advantage of the Earth’s natural cooling potential, and a geothermal system which captures the Earth’s energy potential for heating and cooling.
Water is drawn from two on-site wells for irrigation and potable needs. After use, the winery and domestic wastewater are processed through a series of in-ground bioreactors and allowed to percolate back to the aquifer. In addition, the roads and parking areas are not paved, to allow between 5% and 10% of rainwater to soak into the ground and help recharge the aquifer below ground.
Blue Grouse grape production and final wines in bottles
A new winemaking program
Blue Grouse sits among one of the oldest vineyards on Vancouver Island. The Kiltz family released the first commercial vintage in 1992. After the Brunner family took over, a new label, Quill, was launched in 2014 to give winemaker Bailey Williamson a chance to experiment with other varietals and flavour profiles outside of the Estate vineyard.
Over the past ten years, including many awards and accolades, Bailey has added special wines to the winery’s lineup. In 2015, Blue Grouse released its first sparkling wine, the Paula Sparkling. In 2021, for wine club members only, a special red blend was curated, and in spring 2022, Quill Rosé Frizzante was added to the portfolio. This pink wine is produced with 100% Cowichan Valley grapes and has become a best seller. Finally, coming fall 2022 will be the first vintage of the winery’s Cowichan-grown Chardonnay.
The winery team is also proud to have led the efforts to establish the first Sub-Geographic Indication (Sub GI) on Vancouver Island and they are now proud to label Estate wines as Cowichan Valley Sub-GI. A Sub-GI is an official and protected term in BC. Wines labelled with this indicator let people know that the wine was made with at least 95% grapes grown from the Cowichan region – a true commitment to the local-first focus Cowichan is known for.
Blue Grouse viticulture year round
A new way of caring for the land
The first new plantings in more than 20 years at Blue Grouse winery took place in 2017 under the supervision of vineyard manager, Michael Abbott. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir were planted to increase the winery’s portfolio, and more plantings came along in 2021 and 2022.
Blue Grouse is proud to be transitioning from traditional agriculture to organic. All vineyard and winery practices will comply with the Organic Production Systems, General Principals and Management Standards by the end of 2023.
A new future
In 2021, the Brunner family purchased another 43 acres and a large barn approximately half a kilometre north of the winery. This property will be one more vineyard expansion with a focus on cool-climate whites and rosé.
The Blue Grouse team’s commitment to the future is to never stop learning or experimenting. They believe if they are not evolving, they are dying. Winemaker Bailey Williamson says it nicely: “Mother Nature is a fickle mistress. You don’t get the same results every year no matter how hard you try. You must plan to be flexible. You must be humble enough to learn and change.”
Blue Grouse Estate Winery
About Blue Grouse Estate Winery
Blue Grouse is a family-owned winery in the Cowichan Valley Sub GI on Vancouver Island, with a commitment to stewardship. The idea is that we leave everything we touch better than it was when we found it.
The lineup of wines are offered under the Blue Grouse and Quill labels from sustainably farmed estate-grown vines, as well as from partner grape growers. Quill wines, part of the Blue Grouse family, are fresh, approachable, and made to be enjoyed with friends. Varietal wines include Ortega, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir, as well as a traditional method sparkling wine, “Paula” named after the owners’ daughter, and on occasion small lot experimental wines. The wines are bright, crisp, and well-balanced, showcasing where they are grown.
The winery and surrounding vineyard are an awarded, sought-after destination. Visit this celebrated winery by booking your appointment to enjoy cool climate wines or tasting flights with cheese or charcuterie, and take in the surrounding views of nature and vines. Book online here.
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MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.