Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, July 21 2022

Unsworth Vineyards

By: Anthony Gismondi
Cowichan Valley the latest home of pinot noir and chardonnay on the Pacific

When we first spoke to Chris Turyk, the Unsworth Vineyards' Director of Marketing, about telling the winery's story, he was adamant the video should also be about the people and culture of the Cowichan Valley.

We noted a unique rhythm and set of values throughout the time spent before, during and after the shoot. The Cowichan has drawn people from far and wide interested in living more sustainably. When you add all that to the region's propensity for mixed agriculture, mixed farms, artisanal foods and warmish winters, some would suggest it is more like Italy's coastal Mediterranean lands than anything in the rest of Canada.


However you describe the vibe of the Cowichan, it certainly caught the eye of two well-known California wine women. Julia Jackson and Barbara Banke, who personally purchased Unsworth Vineyards in 2020, stated they wanted "to be part of an amazing wine-growing community that has a chance to be one of the best in the world." Banke said, "We like the freshness of the wines and the liveliness in the pinot, especially." It's no secret the pair are part of the ownership group that manages the global Jackson Family Wines, and American wine giant Kendall Jackson, so shining light of that intensity on this tiny coastal community means its story is only beginning.


What the Jacksons liked most about the region was "the sense of the community and how close everyone is and how they share best practices and hang out together. It will be exciting to be a part of that community and where they think it will evolve."

Well, it is evolving. Our series begins at a sixty-acre plot that will soon be home to the most significant single planting of vines on Vancouver Island. But, more importantly, it's focused on pinot and chardonnay. It will be exciting to see how it all unfolds in the next decade, but that said, die has been cast for a while by the Turyks and a small group of locals that pioneered and uncovered this jewel of a wine region. We invite you to watch all three episodes of the Unsworth story past, present and future,. 

To learn more about Unsworth Vineyards, visit unsworthvineyards.com

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For over 30 years, he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. The twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through Postmedia Network to millions of readers. In addition, Anthony hosts the BC Food & Wine Radio Show, broadcast in 25 markets across B.C. and available as a podcast on Spotify, Apple, iHeart Radio and more. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million monthly users from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource full of tasting notes, intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers.