Exploring Outside Vancouver For Wine, Cider and Beer Tastings
On our road trip around British Columbia, we stopped to explore outside Vancouver for wine, beer and cider tastings. Our first stop in Kelowna introduced us to the wines of the northern Okanagan Valley. From there we moved south to Osoyoos to find the wine capital of Canada. Our next stop took us back towards Vancouver. But our tasting days were not over.
We returned to Chaberton Estates Winery and were reminded that you can never really go back. From wine we moved on and saw the wide variations in cider produced in the Fraser Valley Cider Company. A day trip to Fort Langley ensured we taste tested a great variety of fruit wines at the Fort Wine Company. And one evening we wandered in the small town of Port Moody and had a great microbrewery experience at Yellow Dog Brewery.
It was fun to add some new tasting experiences on our stay outside of Vancouver.
A Stop To Wander In The Fraser Valley
We had two stays planned outside of Vancouver. We wanted to be close to the highway for easy access to the Fraser Valley. Our first stay took us to the Civic Hotel in Surrey. It was another Autograph Collection hotel in the Marriott Bonvoy line-up. As we found in other hotels of this brand, it was a new and stylish hotel. Located right on the Skytrain line, it provided easy access to Vancouver and the surrounding areas.
We had a high corner room that looked west and north. When the clouds moved out, it was great to see mountains in the distance through the floor to ceiling windows on all sides of our room. These great views however were offset when we realized that “climate control” did not mean air conditioning.
From Surrey we moved into an AirBNB in Port Moody to be close to one of our kids. Nick was a few blocks away. And it was great to have him and his dog Gypsy come to visit.
Our stays in Surrey and Port Moody gave us easy access to the highway. It made it easy when we headed out of Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings.
Wine Tasting At Chaberton Estates Winery
One year we spent the whole fall in Vancouver. During that trip, I discovered my favourite rosé wine. I liked it so much that one day we drove around the whole area to scoop up the last bottles of that year’s batch. So no return to explore the Fraser Valley would be complete without a stop at Chaberton Estate Winery.
The tasting bar was very busy when we arrived. We were certainly spoiled with empty tasting rooms when we went wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley mid-week. And our recent experience with invitation-only wine tasting visits in Napa may certainly have ruined us. But we found a spot and checked out the wine tasting card.
The Civic Hotel gave us bottles of both Chaberton Red and Chaberton White. So we did not need to taste these house wines. We had found such interesting new wine varietals on our visit to BC. So we started with the Siegerrebe white wine. My mouth puckered on this tangy wine. The Pinot Gris had a pink tint but was a very dry wine. The winery was known for its Bachus white so we made sure to try this estate grown grape. It was the sweetest wine they had. But not sweet enough for David.
We were happy to start at Chaberton Estates on our visit outside Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings.
You Can’t Really Go Back
We returned to this winery specifically to try the Valley Pink rosé. The 2014 vintage we initially bought was fruity but not too dry or sweet. Just the way I like my rosés. We again learned what a difference the year makes. The grapes used in the Valley Pink had changed a little. But what grabbed me was the heavy smokey taste of this rosé. Not to my taste at all. We would not be buying out the store on this visit.
We finished up tasting the Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah red wines. The Cab had a tangy fruit flavour. Whereas the Syrah was so much smoother on the palate.
We spent a little time and checked out the winery. But then it was time for our lunch reservation. The Bachus Cafe was well regarded with its view out over the vineyards. Several large groups had not finished up and we did not get a patio seat. But lunch was delicious. French Onion soup was followed by a light crepe. David looked for seafood and chose mussels. Of course, we did not pass on the fresh strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert.
We were disappointed that the Valley Pink rosé was not the tasty rosé wine we remembered. But we certainly were happy with our lunch stop at the Bachus Cafe. It was definitely worth a visit on our tour outside Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings.
So Many Cider Options At The Fraser Valley Cider Company
The next stop as we explored the Fraser Valley was at the Fraser Valley Cider Company. When we pulled up, the picnic area was full and children ran around outside. It seemed like everyone was out to enjoy the great sunny day.
There was no room at the tasting bar so we looked at the cider offerings. I was surprised to find so many different ciders. And such interesting names. “Scrumpy” was a high tannin cider with a taste of the old country that would “grab you by the scruff of the neck”. The “Rosy” cider got its fruity flavour from raspberries. There were ciders flavoured from blackcurrant, elderflowers, honey and gin botanicals.
There were ciders produced in co-op like ventures from the surplus apples in the community (the “Community Press”). And ciders made from apples collected from the hedgerows and untended fields (the “Gleaners Gold”).
I never imagined there were that many different ways to make cider. Unfortunately the line up was too long and we did not have time to wait to do a tasting. Next time we will return mid-week for a visit. But it was still a great stop on our tour outside Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings. It was always good to finish up wanting more.
Fruit Wine Company In Fort Langley
But on this trip, we also stopped at the Fort Wine Company just outside of Fort Langley. The winery looked deserted when we arrived. Only one car was there and they left as we arrived. The door was locked. But as we turned away, someone opened the door.
There was a great selection of fruit wines. Again, so many more than I expected. There were a few apple wines but I looked for something more to my taste. I found two that I had to taste test.
We started with the Cranberry Klondike iced fruit wine. It was sweet but had a tangy taste of cranberries that softened the taste. I moved from there to the Raspberry Finger Fruit. This tasted just like raspberry jam – a little sharp but so yummy. Both of these were going home with us. We tasted the Cold Snap apple but it was too sweet for me. Not like the great iced apple cider we tried on our visit to the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal.
We were tempted by the crazy names and labels on the fruit wines – “Valley Girl” Blueberry, “Bite Me” Strawberry and “Sweet Nothings” Blueberry. But we collected a lot of ice wine on our ice wine tour in Niagara. And then added to our sweet wine collection on our visit to Okanagan wine country. There was only so much sweet wine we needed.
It was great to see this interesting fruit wine on our tour outside Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings. The tasting experience was stark. And we were charged for wine tasting even though we bought two bottles. But we were still glad we stopped here on our visit to Fort Langley.
Micro Brewery Experience In Port Moody
On our previous visits to Vancouver, we learned that there are so many great micro breweries in the Vancouver area. When we stayed in Port Moody, our son took us out to see the ones in that area. It was a sunny Saturday evening and there were lineups outside them all. We picked the Yellow Dog Brewery and waited in line.
The brew pubs were not allowed to sell food, so there was a thriving food truck business just outside the pubs. You could pick up your food and take it in to have with your beer. We saw an interesting selection of food trucks.
When we got inside, we settled in for some beer tastings. We sampled from the fruity end with a deliciously fresh peach flavoured beer. At the other extreme, David tried the “Shake A Paw” Smoked Porter very dark beer.
There were snacks offered in the pub. And at the patio there was a mobile stand set up that sold oysters. David watched the expert open and serve the oysters. And we could not resist getting our own dozen.
It was a fun night out in Port Moody. It was great to add this micro brewery to our tour outside Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings.
Visit Vancouver For Wine, Cider and Beer Tastings
We certainly drank our way around on this visit. It was wonderful to travel to different spots outside Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings. We were amazed at the variety of offerings we found. Definitely something for everyone.
When we left Port Moody, we headed for the ferry to Vancouver Island. On our next stop, we explored Vancouver Island from sea to sea. We were excited to see what we might add to our tasting list on our 2 weeks on the island.
Did you travel outside of Vancouver for wine, cider and beer tastings? Did you find a favourite spirit to your taste?
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