Last weekend we escaped to Salt Spring Island to do some research on the local 3 wineries, but realized there is so much more the island offer and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we loved Salt Spring. Only a 3 hour short and beautiful Ferry ride from Vancouver, Salt Spring is one of the Gulf Islands.
Below are some overall highlights from the trip, but we highly recommend bringing a car and driving to see the whole Island, which is only 30 minutes from one end to the other. Pass farms, orchards, parks, lakes and tons of roadside stands which sell fresh goods (rhubarb, basil, eggs, sausages and more) right on the side of the road and is based on the honour system.
- Garry Oaks– this winery produces wine made with grapes from their vineyards on the island. I feel in love with their 2013 Blanc De Noir Rose, which was described to us a an Adult Lemonade. A blend of Pinot Noir and Zweigelt, this elegant Rose boasts tons of berry flavours with a hint of watermelon as well.
- Salt Spring Island Vineyards– this winery has it all- a big tasting room, several picnic areas and good wines. The logo on the bottle tells a special local story of Ertha, an environmental activists who stood up against logging happening in the area and through strategic protesting, was able to raise enough money to buy back the land and stop development. The label also tells a story of things you can find on Salt Spring Island. We really enjoyed their 2009 Foch, as well as their dessert wines- Blackberry Port and Apple Pie.
- Mistaken Identity– the name tells the story of the 2 owners, who used to be in the financial world, but decided to drop everything to follow their true passion, purchase a vineyard and start a winery. A visit to the winery is a must- we even went back twice because we loved their white blend, Bianco, and had to get more bottles to take home. If you are planning on going to the Harbour House Restaurant for dinner, be sure to take a bottle of Mistaken Identity- they will waive your corkage fees entirely!
- Salt Spring Island Ales– this rustic ‘Barn’ brewery was built using logs found on the property and uses organic ingredients (malt and barley), spring mountain water and has no preservatives or additives. Only brews ales, but even if you are not a beer lover, you will enjoy their Heather Ale or Golden.
- Moonstruck– fine organic cheese using milk from a small herd of purebred Jersey Cows.
- Salt Spring Island Cheese- take a tour of the cheese factory, watch thru the windows as they carefully make cheese, then taste over 10 samples of homemade cheese. There is a beautiful picnic area at the cheese factory if you wish to stay and have lunch.
- Auntie Pestos– small, family owned italian restaurant with views overlooking the marina. I enjoyed homemade ravioli with roasted yam and Salt Spring Island chèvre on a mushroom duxelle.
- The Tree House Cafe– a great place to enjoy a glass of local beer or wine and listen to house music. Very cool restaurant with a tree right in the middle of it.
- Harbour House Restaurant– a highlight of our trip! We went here for an incredible, organic dinner. First, you can have a self-guided tour of the huge garden in the back with fresh produce, goats and chickens. We had one of the best seats in the house- right next to the window with a perfect view of the harbour. Bring a bottle of Mistaken Identity wine and your corkage fee is waived!
Other things to do on the Island
- Rent scooters and tour the entire island
- Kayak along the coastline and visit the white shell private beach, about 45 minutes out from Ganges
- Go to the Saturday Market
- Check out all the local homemade stops on the Studio Tour
- Park on the side of the road and find your own secluded beach
- Buy fresh produce and other goods right on the side of the road from numerous standup shops which are based on the honour system- pay for what you take
- Stay at a local Bed and Breakfast, we recommend BLOOM Organic Bed and Breakfast at the Blue Horse Folk Art Gallery
- For more information, visit Salt Spring Island Tourism