While Victoria doesn’t automatically come to mind when people think of wineries in British Columbia, there is now a burgeoning viticulture community on Vancouver Island and a number of wineries in the Greater Victoria area. One of these is Church and State Winery on the Saanich Peninsula.
Church and State operates in the interior of BC (near Oliver) and here on the island, producing BC VQA designated wines. In 2011, they were awarded Red Wine of the Year at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards for their 2009 Coyote Bowl Syrah.
At the winery on Benvenuto Ave (on the way to Butchart Gardens) you can sample an array of fine wine, purchase wine and wine accessories or enjoy a delicious lunch at the bistro, paired with more of their delectable product.
The winery, as part of their commitment to finding sustainable methods of farming, uses raptors for pest control and offers an intriguing look into this practice with their ‘Raptors at Church and State’ program. You can attend for an up-close look and demonstration of this fascinating, environmentally friendly method of pest control.
Both the bistro and raptor program are seasonal so make sure to call ahead or visit them online before you go. The winery can also host your event, the main hall seats 250 and with 11 acres of vineyards there are a number of scenic spots suitable for wedding or other ceremonies.