Foodies have long known there was something special about the Comox Valley.
They taste it at the celebrated local restaurants, sourcing their ingredients from the flourishing farms found throughout this “Land of Plenty.” They shop it at the bustling Farmer’s Market, packed with the goodness grown and produced right here.
More and more, they’re also sipping it from creative teams growing, aging, brewing and distilling the finest ingredients into unique beverages you won’t find anywhere else.
In fact, these three unique-to-the-Comox-Valley destinations are a must for locals, and once we’re travelling again, visitors!
Showcasing clean, ethical wines and a sustainable approach as part of their continuous certification in Green Tourism, 40 Knots Winery is one of the largest wineries on Vancouver Island, farming biodynamically on 24 stunning acres.
“We’re a local, family-run business with a beautiful setting to come and explore sustainable, locally crafted wines,” says Brenda Hetman-Craig.
Next to the Salish Sea, with a view of the glacier, visitors can relax in the Cellar Tasting Lounge or outside on the heated and recently renovated Vineyard Terrace, while enjoying a flight of red or white. Sample vintages crafted from noble varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gris and Gamay, as well as common hybrids such as Auxerrois, Sieg and Schönberger.
The six-time winner of the Comox Valley Record’s Readers’ Choice Awards also offers guided tastings, registered classes exploring everything from wine history to perfect pairings, and welcomes guests to stroll the vineyard and a picnic of carefully curated local farm fare.
Visit 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery at 2400 Anderton Rd. in Comox, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, and online at 40knotswinery.com Families and dogs are welcome.
Quality ingredients from around the world come together in Gladstone’s award-winning beers from head brewer Tak Guenette, including Belgian ales, European lagers and Pacific Northwest-style India pale ales, poured alongside experimental small batches.
Housed in a 1948-built heritage building – once the Seale and Thomson garage and dealership – visitors love the laid-back, mechanic-themed tasting room inspired by local history: hand-made tap handles from vintage mechanic tools and flights served on upcycled vintage license plates in a room decorated with carefully curated artefacts.
There’s also a spacious, heated outdoor patio, where the community-minded brewery looks forward to hosting local events when protocols allow, notes Alexandra Stephanson. “We’re pretty involved in the community, and people seem to appreciate that,” she says.
Beyond tasting flights, pints and growler fills, guests can savour local kombucha, cider and wine on tap. Hungry? Gladstone is also home to the amazing burger bar, with a menu featuring delicious, local, seasonal ingredients – which pair perfectly with their quality beers, of course!
A family-friendly environment, minors are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Visit at 244 4th St. in Courtenay, where the tasting room is open daily from noon to 10 p.m., and online at gladstonebrewing.ca Well-behaved, leashed dogs are also welcome on the patio.
In creating Wayward Distillery, Dave Brimacombe wanted to establish a business that returned more to the local agriculture industry than it took. Rather than consume grains, potatoes and other ingredients that could otherwise be used to enhance the province’s food security, he wanted a byproduct.
The solution? Honey. Today, bees from 1,500 hives pollinate the province’s vegetable fields and fruit orchards, and in turn supply the golden nectar to Canada’s first distillery to produce spirits using 100 per cent B.C. honey!
Led by its flagship Krupnik, a traditional, spiced Polish liquor unique to Wayward, the award-winning Courtenay distillery also produces Unruly Gin, Unruly Vodka, Drunken Hive Rum and Depth Charge spirits – each designed to be sippable on their own and enjoyed in the tastiest of cocktails.
“I wanted to support the food system, not take from it,” Brimacombe explains, noting that distilling creates an end-product similar to other artisanal liquors. “Our vodka tastes like a really smooth vodka, our gin tastes like a botanical gin.”
Join Wayward for a tasting today, and when protocols allow, tours will be back! Visit at 2931 Moray Ave. or online at waywarddistillery.com Bottle sales of spirits and hand sanitizer are available at the door.