When you think of wine destinations in British Columbia, Langley probably isn’t high on the list. But for Vancouver residents, it should be – it’s a short drive for a number of delicious wineries. You could visit a couple of wineries and take in a great meal in half a day, or stay overnight for an inexpensive and easy to get to mini-break. Plus, a new initiative called Langley Passport rewards you for visiting all seven wineries – you could be entered in a seasonal draw for things like trips, hotel stays and crates of wine.
I was lucky enough to join a large bus of fellow wine drinkers for a tour of six of the seven wineries on one overcast Sunday. Our first stop was Township 7 Vineyard and Winery. About 50 of us crammed into their beautiful new tasting room, sampling a number of different wines while learning about their process. The winery itself is beautiful, with tables for picnic lunches around the vines themselves.
Next up, a stop at the oldest Langley winery, Chaberton Estates. Here we were taken on a full tour, from the vineyards, to their grape crusher, barrel storage and bottling. Most of the grapes that grow well in Langley are German white varietals, Chaberton being no exception. The majority of red wines produced by Langley wineries are made using grapes grown in the Okanagan, either using their own vineyards or through partnerships with other vineyards. Sadly we only had time to taste two wines, both white, and both delicious. I have no doubt their other wines were equally as good, and probably go very well with the food at their famous restaurant, Bacchus. The site itself is beautiful and worth the visit alone.
Our next two visits were to Vista D’oro and Blackwood Lane. Vista D’oro produces some delicious blends (Murphy’s Law) and an amazing walnut wine that can’t be missed. I happened to make a new friend while hanging out and drinking wine – their beautiful resident dog Chablis. They also produce jam, and have an excellent patio for a mid-tour lunch. Blackwood is run by a former engineer with a passion for wine. He developed an allergy to the chemicals in most wines and was forced to start making his own – and voila, a business was born!
Our final two stops included a sunny vineyard break at Back Yard (formerly called Neck of the Woods) and a chat with their new winemaker. If you are looking for an affordable Langley winery, Back Yard is your tonic. One of their primary goals is to be a good and reasonably priced BC winery. Look for their Nosey Neighbour line on shelves and in places where tapped wine is sold. Our very last stop was the quirkiest one – Krause Berry Farms. Their berry based wines are practically brand new, and served in little boots by their entertaining winemaker Ted. Choice quote: “We’ve been doing a lot of work in the breakfast wine. It’s been a sadly overlooked area.” Stop in for a taste next time you are out for u-pick.
That’s the rundown on some of the wineries to be found in Langley. I strongly recommend you make several trips and taste at a more leisurely pace than our breakneck tour. Have lunch, explore the grounds, make time for a chat about how each winery produces their wines and the issues specific to small wineries in BC. This small but growing production area is certainly one to watch. And don’t forget your Langley Passport!