Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, September 22 2022

For all the Tea in the Cowichan

By: Cheri Caleb
Westholme Tea Company

At first, Westholme Tea Company may seem like an unusual subject for an online wine magazine, but serious wine drinkers will recognize the lexicon  of the serious tea purveyor and their attention to soil, aspect, elevation, fermentation and harvest times.

Westholme, named for the community in which it sits, is a manifestation of owners Victor Vesely and Margit Nelleman's desire to improve their quality of life over twenty years ago. Margit, a trained chef, talented ceramicist and tea enthusiast steered them in the direction to eventually grow tea;  Victor undertook the challenge to grow the tea and make it and 10 years on, they will soon be doubling their number of tea bushes, planted on neighbouring land.

Westholme Tea is an example of the Cowichan Valley's diverse growing capabilities and how it has attracted many people of the same mind who are looking for locally-sourced foods and slower lifestyles. For wine drinkers visiting wineries in the newly-designated Cowichan Valley sub-region, Westholme can be a place to include as an accompaniment to a wine tour. Tea's parallels to wine drinking enhances both tasting experiences by offering a wider context through comparisons. Most importantly, the opportunity to taste fresh tea without having to travel thousands of miles to traditional tea regions. We hope we are seeing a pioneering effort at the beginning of a long history of tea in this region. Take a look at our interview with Margit and Victor, filmed this summer on their estate. 

Learn more: Westholme Tea Company

Written By:
Cheri Caleb
Cheri Caleb

Cheri Caleb is the driving force behind the Gismondi on Wine videos. She has been producing videos for almost a decade, first for The Vancouver Sun and The Province and then as the founder of Back Valley Road Productions. Her work has been recognized internationally.