Cairnsmore Street’s Fishbowl Cafe is one of the nominees for Best Coffee Shop in the Cowichan Valley’s Best of the Valley 2020 competition. Pictured is Jessica Fetchko, co-owner of the Fishbowl holding the coffee cup, while manager Amy Pickard stands in the rear. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Cowichan Valley Citizen sponsors second annual Best in the Valley

Here’s a taste of what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

The Cowichan Valley Citizen is hosting its second annual Best of the Valley competition.

The Best of the Valley 2020 is an initiative that allows the newspaper’s readers to vote on who they feel is the best local company, organization, place and event in dozens of categories.

They include the best restaurant, florist, car repair shop, pub, music venue, playground and waterfront categories in the Cowichan Valley.

Participants in Best of the Valley are required to fill out a minimum of 20 nominations for their entry to be valid.

Each complete ballot qualifies the participant to win a $250 gift card for Adam’s Tarp & Tool.

To check out the categories and vote, go to https://cowichanvalleycitizen.secondstreetapp.com/Best-of-the-Valley-2020/gallery.

Voting ends on Aug. 5 at midnight.

“There are so many good things happening around Cowichan that to be the best, well, that really means something,” said Andrea Rosato-Taylor, publisher of the Cowichan Valley Citizen.

“We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant community that offers so much diversity. So get out and vote for your favorite business and support local.”

•••••

The popular Cowichan Valley Wine Festival is back.

For only $20, guests can spend the month of August exploring 13 of Cowichan’s award-winning wineries on a self-guided tour.

This allows guests to enjoy the region at their own pace, while ensuring the wineries are able to adhere to proper sanitation and capacity protocols.

Once guests purchase their ticket, they can download it to their mobile device or print it off.

From there, they can begin the tour at their leisure.

Simply hand in the ticket at any participating winery to get a branded Tasting Glass and “passport”, which will act as a guide along the way.

Guests can collect “stamps” at each stop and hand in their completed passport at their final visit to be entered into a draw

to win a custom box of Cowichan wines from the participating wineries.

“Since Cowichan’s recent designation as a sub-GI and recognition of being its own wine region, there has been an incredibly positive response to the festival, and a new interest in Cowichan as a destination holiday for British Columbians,” said Jill Nessel, executive director of Tourism Cowichan.

For more information, go to https://www.tourismcowichan.com/cowichan-valley-wine-festival/

••••

Two companies in the Valley will be participating in the fifth annual BC Cider Week, being held Aug. 6-16, which includes a variety of virtual and small scale events that celebrate B.C. cider and the people who make it.

Valley Cider Company in Duncan is hosting free tastings through the week, and visitors to the cidery can enter to win a Valley Cider gift pack.

As well, Small Block Brewing in Duncan will host a “Love Cider?” introduction to Valley cider.

During the week, many of the nearly 40 cideries across the province are offering tasting room discounts, swag giveaways, special releases and seasonal ciders while restaurants, pubs, and liquor stores are featuring B.C. craft cider.

There will be lots of space for social distancing while enjoying local flavours.

“As people make the most of exploring British Columbia, cider is another way to explore the beauty and flavours of a region,” said Emily Ritchie, executive director of the Northwest Cider Association.

“There are cideries and cider events throughout the province as we have teamed up with a variety of businesses to offer unique experiences.”

A cidery map is posted on the NW Cider Association website at nwcider.com/map.

•••••

Literacy Now Cowichan has received a $5,000 donation from the First West Foundation to help support literacy initiatives in the Cowichan region.

The donation will be used to help support the ongoing and growing community adult literacy program called Pathways to Learning.

The program serves some 150 adult learners each year from the Cowichan region with free one-to-one literacy lessons provided by highly trained volunteer tutors.

LNC executive director Kathleen Erickson said the organization is delighted to receive the grant.

“This has been a difficult time for Literacy Now Cowichan as the adult literacy program had to quickly transition from face-to-face tutoring to more distance learning in the face of COVID-19,” she said.

“These funds will help to make sure we can continue to support those who come to us for tutoring. This endorsement for our adult literacy program means so much to our tutors and learners.”

•••••

After 15 years in the wine industry, Rocky Creek Winery still keeps adding to their collection of awards.

Winemaker Mark Holford has added two more to his total as the Cowichan Valley’s most awarded winemaker.

The winery’s just-released Pinot Gris 2019 has won a gold at the All Canadian Wine championships this year, while its Sirius Red won a bronze medal at the championships.

“This is our first release of our estate Sirius Red,” Holford said.

“We were proud to release a fuller-bodied red wine from our experimental hybrid Cabernet-Foch grapes. This wine was not released until the vineyards were fully developed and has been 12 years in the making.”

•••••

The Cowichan Valley Basket Society and the Chemainus Harvest House Society are among 13 food banks in the region that will receive funding from a $100,000 donation by Western Forest Products to assist in areas where the company operates.

Lee Smith, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Basket Society, which will receive $5,000, said the society is extremely grateful for the significant donation received from WFP.

“The funds received will be utilized to provide food to vulnerable members in our community, as well as many families suffering from the effects of food insecurity,” he said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has served to highlight the importance of food banks in serving the needs of our community and we are anticipating a growing demand in the future as the many government support programs either diminish or wind down.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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