Blue Grouse Winery
Blue Grouse Winery (Tourism Cowichan)

The next time you’re checking out the wine sections at the liquor store, you might spot a new label: wines from the Cowichan Valley.

B.C’s Ministry of Agriculture announced on Friday that the region has officially been recognized as a distinct area for grape-growing and winemaking.

The Cowichan Valley will be designated as a sub-geographical indication (sub-GI), which is an official term under B.C. law used to help consumers identify B.C. wines’ origins.

Under the indication, the area is defined roughly between the Cowichan watershed, the eastern coastline from Mill Bay to Maple Bay and the western area of Cowichan Lake.

“This is a well-deserved accomplishment for all those involved in producing exceptional wines and memorable winery experiences,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley.

The designation is aimed at promoting regions for both wine and tourism.

Wines labelled with geographical indications and/or sub-GIs must be produced with a minimum of 95 per cent of grapes from the region.

The Cowichan Valley is the fifth sub-GI to be designated in B.C., and the first to be designated outside of the Okanagan Valley.

Other sub-GIs include Golden Mile Bench, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Falls and Skaha Bench.

The initiative to receive the designation was led by Bailey Williamson of Blue Grouse Estate Winery.

A list of other Cowichan Valley wineries is online at tourismcowichan.com