Here is a small sampling of some less well-known lakes in and around the West Shore that you and your friends and family can explore this summer. Pack a picnic, grab your fishing pole and head out to explore some of these Secret Lakes!

Whether you are a wine connoisseur or just choose wine by its colour, the following article may offer interesting insights into winemaking and the joy of wines!

I consulted with Bipin Bhatt, Outlets Manager and Sommelier at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. He started his career as a mixologist in Dubai in 2002. It didn’t take long for him to become infatuated with wines and began training as a sommelier. His employer recognized his passion and talents and supported his education.

“The only way to stay current [about wine] is to realize there is no end to the varietals and complexities of wines,” Bhatt told me. “Winemaking is a truly limitless, creative endeavour. Vintners around the world are always experimenting with various grape varietals, vineyard management and replanting techniques to find out what works best for their region.”

Sometimes, all it takes is one good idea to get started, right? This month, our issue is packed with ideas to somewhere nearby you’ve never been before or to something that you’ve wanted to do, but never got around to. Accomplishing this, won’t be difficult, when you have a ‘GoWestShore Bucket List’ to follow!

Looking for a relaxing, yet pleasurable getaway with friends and guests this season? Then, head north to Cowichan Valley wine country! Cowichan Valley is often referred to as the “Napa of the North”. The word Cowichan means ‘land warmed by the sun’ or ‘the warm land’ in the First Nations Coast Salish language. It’s Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone. The warmest average year-round temperatures and longest growing season in the country, abundant sunshine, consistent rainfall and rich soils has, in recent years, made Cowichan Valley one of the best wine producing regions in British Columbia, second only to the Okanagan Valley.

Most Cowichan wineries are open all year round to meander, sip and enjoy, not just in the summer when the sun is shining. The countryside is always glorious and wine tasting is an indoor experience. No need to drive yourself! Let someone else do the driving by booking a guided tour around the region’s wineries. Safe transport and custom, value-added tours are available for any size group. The more the merrier! Cowichan tours are family and pet-friendly—as are all the wineries, too. So, whether you’re a wine connoisseur or still developing your palette, this region’s unique wineries are a not-to-be-missed destination on Vancouver Island.