Day Trip: Sip Your Way Through Langley
A cavalcade of award-winning wineries awaits 45 minutes away.
October 26, 2018
Late fall is a tricky time in Vancouver. It’s grey. It’s rainy. And it’s not quite cold enough to enjoy (or complain about) a snow day.
In short, it’s a good time to curl up inside with a book and a nice glass of red.
Your biggest problem during this shoulder season—where to find the right drop? The summer season is well and truly over in the Okanagan, and you’re hardly going to find a nice winery in Vancouver. Right?
Well, actually you can. Or at least, you can near Vancouver. Only 45 minutes southeast of the city, the township of Langley is home to award-winning wineries and some seriously cute places to spend a rainy Saturday. Pack your gumboots and bribe a designated driver to join you for a Fraser Valley wine adventure that’s well within reach.
With a rustic vibe and seriously cosy atmosphere, Backyard Vineyards has one of the loveliest tasting rooms in the region. In a rural setting that screams “wedding location,” this scenic winery has been producing award-winning drops since 2009. Grapes are grown on-site, with some varieties selected from further afield in the Fraser Valley and the sunny South Okanagan. Winemaker James Cambridge usually has a wide selection of approachable wines available for tastings. Kick things off with celebratory bubbles like the NV Blanc de Noir Brut, which is made in the Champagne “Methode Traditionnelle” style from 100% estate grown pinot noir. Open seven days, year-round, except for some holidays.
Chaberton Winery in South Langley offers daily tastings, as well as winery tours at 11:30am and 3pm daily, weather permitting. After a few tastings, you may need to soak up the alcohol with something a bit more substantial than cheese and crackers. Stay for lunch at the charming Bacchus Bistro, where you can graze on lighter French fare like stuffed crepes, or fill up on classics such as duck leg confit or beef bourguignon, all while overlooking the 55-acre vineyard. Reservations are recommended for groups of eight or more.
For an agritourism experience that combines wines, preserves and freshly grown fruit, you can’t go past the boutique experience of Vista D’oro Farm and Winery. Open Thursday to Sunday, the Farmgate Shop and Tasting Room offers tasting for the small batch wines, or you can try the locally grown orchard fruits, heirloom tomatoes and grapes in one form or another—from fortified walnut wine to Orchard Pear and Pinot Noir preserves.
From farming to winemaking, the Glasshouse Estate Winery has a long agricultural history. The winery’s name pays homage to the owner’s 60-year history in the greenhouse industry in the Netherlands and Canada. Arthur and Ingrid de Jong purchased the overgrown Christmas tree farm in 2004 and have been making wines since 2015. This family-run winery combines wine with art events like the upcoming Paint & Sip event on November 21, where you can let your creative juices flow with resident artist Felicity Holmes over a glass of wine and appetizers. The tasting room is open Thursday through Saturday from 12pm to 6pm.
You may recognize the name of this sprawling estate from its sister property in Naramata Bench, but the Langley location is actually the original location. Open year ’round, the tasting room is set in a lush agricultural landscape that feels well removed from city life. Locally grown chardonnay and pinot noir vines are used for the Champagne-style bubbly, and you can also enjoy tastings from the Okanagan location.
If you’re looking for fruit-forward, vegan wines, Blackwood Lane has you covered. Made from grapes from the Oliver-Osoyoos area and aged in French oak barrels, boutique producer Blackwood Lane has been producing handcrafted wines since 2004. Set on a scenic estate in Aldergrove, this destination offers a range of aged wines that are ready to drink. The tasting room is open Wednesday to Sunday, with reservations required for groups of six or more.
Finish your day with an array of sweet treats from the farm-fresh bakery and winery at Krause Berry Farms and Winery. You may know Krause for its summertime activities, such as the berry u-pick, but it’s just as fun to visit in the cooler months. The bakery, market and winery are open Wednesday to Sunday, and on weekends you can also dine at the family-friendly Estate Winery, where the vegetarian menu is developed from the locally grown fruits and vegetables. For wine, most have bright fruit notes and are at least off-dry, with the decadent dessert wines a must-try for sweet tooths.