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September 28, 2014

A wine tour in our own backyard: Fraser Valley wineries are only minutes away


SEPTEMBER 26, 2014


Where: 3033–232nd Street, Langley, BC

Info: info@backyardvineyards.ca, 604-539-9463

What’s in a name?

In the case of Langley’s Backyard Vineyards, it contains an important statement.

“The name is something we developed to reflect that we are in the backyard of Vancouver,” says owner Trent Blackwell about the winery.

“We have a lot of locals — regulars picking up wine on their way home. We get one couple every Friday night who come and enjoy a bottle of wine,” says winemaker James Cambridge.

It’s no wonder those locals like to lounge here. The pretty outdoor space overlooks six acres of grapes (Backyard has another 20 acres in Abbotsford). If the weather turns while you’re visiting, you can head indoors to the comfortable tasting room and store.

The store offers a range of varietal, blended and bubbly wines made from B.C. grapes (prices range from $13-$22 a bottle). The most popular of the 10 different types are the Nosey Neighbour red and white blends, says Cambridge.

On the day we visited, the Backyard gang was just getting ready to put the nets over the grapes to keep the birds from eating the ripe, sweet fruit.

Inside the bottling building, they were disgorging the bottles, which consists of taking sparkling wine and getting the yeast out through a quick-freeze process. The end result is the label’s Blanc de Noir Brut.

“This is the spice rack,” said Cambridge, referring to the wall of French and American oak barrels that have a three-batch lifespan before they are retired and turned into tables, planters and cutting boards.

The winery sells about 10,000 cases of wine a year and the wines have scored a barrel full of medals but, at the end of the day, this is a small business and a labour of love.

“The saying goes that to make a small fortune in the wine business you need to start with a large fortune,” says Cambridge with a smile.

September 12, 2014

Backyard Vineyards gets a well-deserved second look

When I recently visited Backyard, I learned that James Cambridge has just been in the Okanagan, meeting with growers. One of numerous visits during the season. That’s a very good sign and something I would expect from as seasoned a winemaker as he is.
An Ontario native, James is a graduate (top of the class) from Niagara College’s enology and viticulture program. In Ontario, he worked both with Henry of Pelham Winery and Creekside Winery.
Coming to the Okanagan, he has made wine at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, at Le Vieux Pin and LaStella Wineries and, prior to Backyard, at Fort Berens Estate Winery. The 2012 Riesling he made for Fort Berens won a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence.
He took over at Backyard for the 2013 vintage. The wines from 2013 are good. He probably finished the earlier vintages and those wines, with one exception, are also solid. All are very well priced.
James also let me taste two promising barrel samples – an elegant 2012 Reserve Syrah and a really excellent 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc. Keep an eye out for the release of these wines.
Located in a spacious building, Backyard welcomes visitors in a tasting room with the civilized atmosphere of a warm neighbourhood pub. There is food service and an appealing gazebo large enough to handle 50 people under its oak-beamed roof. 
Here are notes on the current portfolio. Prices shown are retail; wine club members get an attractive discount.
Backyard Vineyards Nosey Neighbour White 2013($14.99). This is a good value blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer, made in an easy-drinking style. It has aromas and flavours of lime, nectarine and mango. 88.
Backyard Vineyards Riesling 2013 ($18.99). James clearly has an affinity for Riesling. This wine has collected gold medals at three major wine competitions this year (so far). A well-balanced wine, fermentation stopped naturally, leaving 10 grams of residual sugar. That seems to pop the lovely notes of lemon and lime in the aroma and on the palate. The finish is crisp and refreshing. 90.
Backyard Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($16.99). The wine begins with aromas of grapefruit and sage, leading to flavours of lime and guava. There is an herbal note on the finish. 88.
Backyard Vineyards Pinot Gris 2013 ($15.99). Backyard has a vineyard near Abbotsford just coming into production. This wine has about 5% Fraser Valley Pinot Gris, with the rest from Osoyoos. This wine begins with aromas of pear and melon. On the palate, the wine is generous in texture with flavours of pear and apple. It has a crisp finish. 90.
Backyard Vineyards Gewürztraminer 2013 ($17.99). Here is a wine with a gold and two silver medals in international competitions. The wine begins with aromas of lychee, spice and sage. It is full on the palate, with flavours of lychee, melon and fig. 90.
Backyard Vineyards Merlot 2011 ($16.99). This soft, mouth-filling wine has aromas and flavours of vanilla and black currant, with a peppery note on the finish. 89.
Backyard Vineyards Syrah 2011 ($21.99). This wine has gained three silver medals in international competitions. Made with grapes from an  Osoyoos vineyard, it is a bold, dark wine with aromas of black cherries and plums, leading to flavours of plums and prune. There is an appealing earthiness on the finish, along with a hint of pepper. 90.
Backyard Vineyards Meritage 2011 ($19.99). This is 44% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine also has silver medals from three international competitions. Maybe I tasted an off bottle but I don’t see it. I found the wine too hard to have much appeal. I would certainly urge decanting. 87.
Backyard Vineyards  Nosey Neighbour Red 2012($14.99). This is 44% Merlot, 43% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc. I like this much better than the Meritage, especially at the price. It is a juicy red with ripe flavours of black cherry and black currant. 90.
posted by John Schreiner

May 26, 2014


Backyard Vineyards picks up two more Gold Medals for their 2013 Reisling at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition & the All-Canadian Wine Championship in Windsor, ON. They also received a Silver Medal for their 2013 Gewurztraminer at the Los Angeles Int’l Wine Competition and a Silver Medal for their 2011 Syrah at the All-Canadian Wine Championship.



April 27, 2014


Backyard Vineyards strikes Gold twice!! At the 2014 Pacific Rim Wine Competition in California, they won gold for both their 2013 Gewurztraminer and 2013 Riesling. They also won two silvers for their 2011 Syrah and 2011 Merlot.

April 1, 2014

Backyard Vineyards is proud to be part of Langley’s Circle Farm Tour

About Circle Farm Tour
Your journey through Langley’s diverse Circle Farm Tour will be a feast for your senses. Sample classic grape vintages and award winning fruit wines.  Enjoy French cuisine, or fill your picnic basket with fresh pies, juicy berries, local cheese and specialty turkey. Stroll through gardens, farm markets, take in an equestrian event, meet and alpaca and see when the Hudson’s Bay Company first farmed … you can even milk a cow!  Explore the endless choices of the Langley Circle Farm Tour! Click here for more details.

August 10, 2013

“Winery Gets It Right”

A great article on Backyard Vineyards, with a little about our history:

From thenownews.com :

The winery features a brand new outdoor gazebo with a giant bell in an unpretentious, relaxed environment where you can order a glass of wine, sit down and enjoy the fresh country air – not bad for a place a mere 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

The wines are much improved in the last few years and I had an opportunity to sample the wines at Backyard recently.

The most successful wines are the Nosey Neighbour white and red, both blends crafted by former Cedar Creek winemaker Tom Di Bello that hit the mark with a low price tag of around $15. The white is citrusy, flavorful, crisp and dry, a sound match for seafood and chicken or sipping on the patio. The red is soft, light with hints of cinnamon, clove, blackberry and raspberry on the nose.

The Gewürztraminer is my personal favourite – sweet floral and gentle spice hit your nose and the first sip reveals tropical fruit and a smooth, off-dry honeyed taste. This Gewurtz is the ultimate summer sipper … keep it cold and relax with a good book.

Read the rest here >>

August 2, 2013


Langley, BC…. Who needs to drive four plus hours to visit wine country when you can spend just 45 minutes and tour the best of the Fraser Valley wineries located amongst the rolling hills of South Langley’s Campbell Valley? Saturday, August 10th is the day to explore; visit Backyard Vineyards, Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery, Township 7 Vineyards and Winery and Vista D’Oro Farms and Winery as they collectively host the Inaugural Campbell Valley Wine Festival. From 12 noon to 5pm, each winery will offer wine samples, snacks, live entertainment and the chance to win a $150 gift certificate from each winery. The Campbell Valley Wine Tour is THE place to be on August 10th. For further information please contact the individual wineries.

Backyard Vineyards is your choice for local wines. With wine country as close as 45 minutes from downtown Vancouver, and grapes harvested in both the Fraser and the Okanagan Valleys, Backyard offers the very best of BC VQA wines. Sparkling wines to brighten up even the grayest of days, varietal wines from cheeky to sexy and a Nosey Neighbour peeking over the fence, there is something for every day and price range at Backyard Vineyards. Located at 3033 232nd Street, Langley, BC T. 604-539-9463

A quick tasting or an afternoon filled with fabulous food, wine tasting and tour of our vineyards. Domaine de Chaberton, one of B.C. largest estate wineries and the Fraser Valley’s oldest winery and vineyard, cordially invites you to come and experience a tranquil atmosphere. The 55-acre property situated off of 216th and 16th in Langley, offers daily tours and free wine tastings. Pack a lunch or picnic and join us on one of our many sunny days for a glass of wine in our licensed picnic area or dine in our Zagat Rated “Excellent” Bacchus Bistro. Located at 1064 – 216 Street, Langley, BC T. 604 530 1736

Founded in 2001, Township 7 has two BC wineries, one situated in the scenic Fraser Valley and the other on the picturesque Naramata Bench in Canada’s premier wine region, the Okanagan Valley. Our Metro Vancouver winery is located in the beautiful south Langley countryside in a quaint building reminiscent of the many riding stables in the neighbourhood. Named after this historic community of south Langley, its original name in the late 1800s was “Township 7”- the cottage on our property is an original building from the 1930s. Located at 21152 16TH AVE (AT 212TH ST),
LANGLEY, BC T. 604-532-1766

Dedicated to providing an ultimate agritourism experience, Vista D’oro Farms & Winery’s orchard and vineyard provide an assorted bounty, all of which can be found in the Farmgate Shop & Tasting Room in some form – whether it’s our flagship D’oro – fortified walnut Wine, our Orchard Pear & Pinot Noir Preserve or simple pickled cherries on our charcuterie boards. Full picnic provisions are available to enjoy on our deck or under the walnut tree. Located at 346-208th Street, Langley, BC T. 604-514-3539

July 18, 2013

Best Fraser Valley Vineyards – BC Living

“The Fraser Valley’s microclimate has produced some of BC’s finest vineyards outside the Okanagan, with award-winning wines, artisan winemaking and eclectic tasting rooms”

From BC Living:

We had a “Nosey Neighbour” in our backyard last week; on the deck, in a stemmed glass of course. And as we tasted the signature white at Backyard Vineyards, Tara McNeill, marketing manager, knew that her tongue in cheek response, “thankfully, they’ll never wear out their welcome,” would make us smile. So, too, did the delightful lemon notes and fresh crisp Pinot Gris, Riesling, Siegerrebe, and Gewürztraminer 2011 blend.

June 24, 2013

VIP Fraser Valley Wine Tour

West Coast Wine Education is set to kick off its season of VIP Fraser Valley Wine Tours on June 23. Held various Sundays throughout summer, the tour is a daylong outing featuring stops at Backyard Vineyards, Domaine de Chaberton, and Township 7. Per person cost is $196 (tax included) and includes transportation (with pickups available in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, and Langley), wine expert facilitation, and a picnic lunch. For complete details as well as available dates, visit wcwed.com.

Read the rest here >>

February 23, 2013

International Wine Festival

February 28, March 1 & 2, we are at the Vancouver International Wine Festival! Come visit us in the Tasting Room, we are there all three nights from 7 – 10pm. We are pouring some Backyard favourites. We are also at the Sunday Flavours of the Festival brunch, come taste our Porch, only available at the winery.


Your very local award winning winery3033–232nd Street, Langley, BC | 604 539 9463 | info@backyardvineyards.ca |

Tasting Room & Wine Shop open 11am–6pm daily