Wine Culture Magazine

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned, early-budding variety that produces sweet berries with good acidity. It’s the second most planted grape in B.C. Getty Images photo

Join the online conversation and celebrate Pinot Noir Day on August 18. Despite its nickname “the heartbreak grape,” Pinot Noir offers a window to the soil’s soul. If you want to know more, pick up a bottle, polish a glass and take a sip. Then post a selfie celebrating your taste experience using the hashtag #pinotnoirday

B.C. Pinot Noir 

If you know anything about Pinot Noir, it’s that the most prized bottles come from Burgundy. Rising stars can be found in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, New Zealand, Chile and right here at home. 

In B.C., Pinot Noir is the second most planted red grape variety at 1,655 acres, which is about 13 per cent of red grapes grown. Numbered and named clones (including Dijon and Pommard) and diverse terroir from Vancouver Island to the Kootenays gives us styles in a range of expressions from light and delicate to rich and ripe

Wherever it is grown, Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned, early-budding variety that produces sweet berries with good acidity. Vines grow best in cool-climate vineyards with good soil drainage. Pinot Noir likes moderate sunlight exposure and gentle breezes. Because these grapes grow in small, tight clusters, Pinot Noir fruit is more susceptible to disease and requires added attention both in the vineyard, which is why it is sometimes known as “the heartbreak grape.”

Seductive Styles 

Most commonly, Pinot Noir is a red wine, light bodied with lower alcohol, featuring sweet red berry to tart cherry fruit aromas and flavours complemented by spice (like cinnamon), earth (mushroom and forest floor) and toasted wood. 

Pinot Noir rosé is rising in popularity, offering a seductive red berry flavours with a silky palate. While Pinot Noir is occasionally blended with other red grapes, it is most famously blended with Chardonnay (and sometimes Pinot Meunier) in the traditional-method sparkling wines of Champagne and other regions. 

Here are just a few sips that reflect the diversity of Pinot Noir in B.C. 


Peak Cellars, 2022 “Pinot Noir Rosé”
Lake Country, $22. Raspberries and cream on a satin blanket.


Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars, 2018 Sparkling Brut “Rosé”
(70% Pinot Noir). Okanagan Falls, $40. Vibrant and fresh with persistent fine bubbles.


Horseshoe Found Winery, “2021 Pinot Noir”
Cawston in the Similkameen Valley, $39. Wine from a long time grower now producing their own label.


Baillie-Grohman, “2021 Pinot Noir Terraces”
Creston in the Kootenays. $31.


Unsworth Vineyards, “2020 Saison Pinot Noir”
Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, $69.

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