The Red Chair’s next day of exploring the Cowichan Valley included wine tasting, birds of prey and cider tasting.
The day started with a visit to Blue Grouse Estate Winery with its beautiful new tasting room. The sun peeked out as Office Manager Jenny showed Red around. He especially enjoyed the view from the upstairs balcony looking out over the vineyard. No budding was happening yet on the vines but what a beautiful spot. He could picture himself there on a sunny summer day! New owners purchased Blue Grouse in 2012 and built the beautiful new facilities that they have now. It’s a must see winery on any tour of the Cowichan Valley. And they make pretty nice wine too!
From wine to birds of prey was quite a change, as Red and innkeeper Ingrid next headed to The Raptors. The goal of The Raptors centre is to raise awareness about birds of prey and to promote conservation through educational programs and wildlife management. They were actually closed for some renovations, so the Red Chair felt very fortunate that he was still able to come for a visit. Senior Falconer Tina was on hand to give Red a little bit of a tour and to bring out several of the birds for an up close and personal visit. Both the female bald eagle Hera and the male Manwe joined Tina on the Red Chair and he was pretty thrilled! Later a saker falcon didn’t need Tina’s help to join Red for a relaxing chat. What a great place to visit! The Raptors is re-opening on Friday March 11th from 12-3 with a flying demonstration at 1:30. Watch eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and turkey vultures fly!
Closer to home, in fact just around the corner from Cobble House B&B, Red’s next visit took him to Merridale Cidery, BC’s first estate cidery. The welcoming committee was out when the Red Chair arrived! Red just loves it when he meets other funky chairs, especially red chairs! Red toured the grounds and the apple orchard, where unfortunately nothing was flowering just yet, and went inside to the bistro and the cider tasting bar to check out all the different products that Merridale produces. Not only do they make a variety of ciders but also fortified dessert wines, fruit brandies and spirits, and a fruit based vodka. Of course Red did not taste all of these! Merridale also has a brick oven bakery and a farmhouse store, and hosts many weddings throughout the year. Summertime Sundays it’s pizza night with live entertainment, which sounds like a great way to spend a summer evening. Red figured he’ll just have to come back! While taking a picture with the Merridale sign, Red also met some curious onlookers!
Red’s next visit included another tasting, but this time it was beer! So many great products are grown and
produced in the Cowichan Valley, the Red Chair was happy he had several days here to try at least some of them! Red Arrow Brewery opened its doors not quite a year ago. Red of course loved the name and was even more excited when he walked into their wonderful tasting room and saw two red chairs! After a little tour of the facilities, Red sat down to chat with his new red friends before taking some pictures with the Red Arrow sign! Many thanks to Adam and the rest of the staff for welcoming Red for a visit!
With a couple more days to spend in the Cowichan Valley, the Red Chair wondered what else innkeeper Ingrid had in store for him! He’d already seen and done a lot, but then there is a lot to see and do in the Cowichan!
To be continued……