Did you know that there is wine grown in the lower mainland: wine that is not bad at all? Neither did I. And how I found this out is an interesting story I think you will enjoy. Joe and Christina belong to the Circolo Abruzzese, which is a club for people from the Abruzzo region of Italy, at the Italian Cultural Center. The Club was having a small outing to look at a couple of wineries just south of Langley and have a picnic. We asked if we could go along and so on Sunday, the 7th of June, we all met at the Italian Center. The club had arranged to use the bus from St. Helen’s Church so we parked our car and joined everybody on the bus.

The St. Helen’s bus in the parking lot of the Italian Cultural Center.

This is a school bus and pretty basic. But very comfortable, if you don’t include the suspension!

Susan and the sign at the front of the Township 7 property

Our first stop was at the Township 7 Winery. Well, not really a winery. Township 7 grow their grapes and make their wines near Naramata in the Okanagan but they maintain an outlet store and grow some grapes here in the lower mainland. They have a picnic area amongst the vines with tables and chairs and some canvas gazebos for shade.

Now we have to talk about the food. The way it was explained to me we were to all bring our lunch plus a bit extra to share and we would have a picnic at the Township 7 winery. But ‘picnic’ does not quite cover it! The ladies were amazing. When the food came out it was a feast of major proportions. I should have known. After all, it was an Italian picnic.

While we ate the folks from the winery let us sample their wines, three whites, two reds and a rose. I have to say that every one was excellent. These people make good wine. The only problem is price. It is expensive when you consider what we can buy from Italy and other countries for considerably less money. However, I think I will buy a few bottles and see how this wine compares in the more relaxed atmosphere of home.

Susan standing by the vines at the Township 7 Winery. The weather for our outing was just perfect.

We walked around the property and from one far corner we could see across the vines to the picnic area in the center of the property.

The food was fantastic and abundant. And of course you could buy wine in the store right there. Glasses were provided.

While we ate we were treated to a wine tasting. Everyone was in agreement that Township 7’s wines are really excellent.

Township 7’s vines are well kept but they do not have enough plants to produce a serious wine output. Their grapes must go up to Naramata to be used.

The picnic area was a grassy area with tables and chairs. We put our food out under a small tent they provided for us.

Everyone helped themselves but there was no need to rush. There was enough for everybody and more than we could possibly eat.

Joe brought a bottle of “Super Punch” which is a digestive from Chieti in Abruzzo. He went around making sure everyone had some.

Here I am enjoying my “Super Punch” while standing at the entrance to Township 7 Winery. Some of their vines are visible behind me.

Joe and Christina at the entrance to Chaberton Estate Winery, our second winery of the day.

Our second winery stop was at Chaberton Estate Winery where they do grow enough grapes to market their wine grown on the property. Unlike Township 7, Chaberton is a full production winery where they do their own wine from crushing to fermenting to ageing to bottling. We had a tour of their facility and then we had a private tasting. Their signature wine is the Bacchus white which I found very pleasant and they also had an excellent rose’ which was very refreshing. Like Township 7, the problem they have is with their price. But I will try a few bottles to see if my first impressions were accurate.

Standing by the vines at Chaberton Estates listening to our hostess explain about the property and the grapes.

The barrel ageing room where the oak barrels are stacked to the ceiling.

Christina and Susan standing amongst the fermentation tanks.

Our tasting of the Chaberton wines after our tour of the property and the winery.

Susan and Christina outside the little Bistro at the Chaberton Estate Winery.

Wine glasses in the tasting room. I love looking for “artsy” pictures when I’m taking photographs.

This was a great afternoon. The weather was perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature hovered around the 30 degree mark. Hot! There was a little breeze and that was pleasantly cooling.

The world south of Langley and Aldergrove is beautiful. In all my years in BC, my whole life really, I was not familiar with the area. You feel like you’re hundreds of miles from the city. It’s like Italy in that properties are large and the homes are mixed in with small farms. The roads are lined with woods interspersed with beautiful estates and gently rolling farm land.

The hostess at Chaberton told us about their micro climate there where they get a different weather pattern than Langley which is only a few kilometers away, and very much different that the City. They get a fraction of the rainfall we do in Burnaby.

The weather does not get hot enough to produce good red wines but they have had success with whites. Their weather and soil conditions are apparently similar to the wine regions of northern France and Germany.

For an afternoon outing, this was a lovely place to visit. I want to go back, maybe in the fall, to see the grapes just before they’re picked.

I also want to thank the folks that arranged this great day. It was really special and Susan and I had a wonderful time. The food and the company were unsurpassed. If any of these pictures are useful to the Club you are welcome to use them any way you like. If you want larger format versions just let me know.

Just before we got back on the bus to come home we posed for a picture by the sign at the front of the property. What a great day!