On July 10, 2020, the Cowichan Valley was officially recognized as the first sub-geographical indication outside of the Okanagan, and joins wineries in Naramata Bench, Skaha Bench, Okanagan Falls and Golden Mile Bench in the Okanagan Valley geographical indication as wineries that meet the requirements of the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation. There are nine official geographical indications in the province and now five sub-geographical indications (sub-GIs), or sub-appellations, in British Columbia.
The Cowichan Valley sub-GI is roughly defined as the area between the Cowichan watershed, the eastern coastline from Mill Bay to Maple Bay and the western area of Cowichan Lake. The vineyards of the Cowichan Valley boast ideal conditions for popular grape varieties that include Ortega, Bacchus, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Marechal Foch and Pinot Noir.
A map of the sub-appellation is available at the BC Wine Authority website.
Average 900 to 1,200 growing degree days (1,103 in North Cowichan).
Wineries in the Cowichan Valley are generally shielded from Pacific Ocean storms by nearby mountains and have a long growing season with low frost risk.