Lillooet has a surprising amount of fun trails and pretty areas to explore… but did you know it also has a winery!? Friends told me that the best food in Lillooet is at the Fort Berens Estate Winery. But when I called to make a reservation we were sad to hear their restaurant is not open once the weather gets chilly. However, you can still drop by and taste their wine.
Just before this we’d hiked up to the Seton Lake viewpoint and Red Rock (half way up the mountain in the background below…) so we looked down at the vineyard and decided to visit for our next excursion.
Fort Berens Estate Winery
Location: 1881 BC-99, Lillooet, BC V0K 1V0
Phone: (250) 256-7788
Open: 10am-4pm everyday apart from Wednesdays.
We did call ahead to check the opening times. As we visited in the autumn, it was not super busy, so they told us to just drop by whenever we had time to visit.
Fort Berens Estate Winery is located just outside Lillooet, which is one of BC’s hot spots (with long, dry summers that are great for vino.) There are two main vineyards – 20 acres that was planted in 2009, and a further 18 acres that was planted in 2018. They also plant a variety of indigenous plant along the boarders to attract birds and insects.
Fort Berens Estate Winery Tastings
You do not have to book tastings. They told us they regularly change the wines…so you’ll taste whatever is open that day. When we visited we tried their Pino Gris, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Meritage.
I liked their Riesling best (it is fairly dry, but has a slightly tropical flavour.) I think Marc was more partial to their Meritage. It’s not the very best wine we’ve had in BC, but we did like it enough to go home with a couple of bottles.
Fort Berens Estate Winery Views
While you taste the wine, you get to look out to these fantastic views over Lillooet and the surrounding mountains. You can also peek down into the winery where the magic happens.
Wait, why are there camels!?
You might notice that some of the wines have pictures of Camels on the labels. This is a nod to the history of Lillooet. In 1862, John Calbreath brought 23 camels to Lillooet to help carry heavy loads along the trails during the Gold Rush. The camels ate miners clothes, kicked anyone who came near them, and were generally grumpy and ungovernable. In the end, they were set free to roam where they pleased. Some died in winter storms, some were eaten for meat, but one “the Lady” survived on a farm until 1896.
In addition to the wine, the shop has some cute souvenirs and fantastic local produce (like honey, jams, hiking books etc.) We really enjoyed our visit, so I am keen to come back and eat at the Kitchen at Fort Berens.
What do you think? We visited on a grey day, but I still thought the vineyards were lovely. It must be a stunning area when the sun comes out! Do you fancy tasting some wine at Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet? If so, click on the pins below to save for later.