BC Wine

Fraser Valley Region

Fraser Valley Region

The Fraser Valley refers to the basin of the lower Fraser River extending westward from Hope to the Greater Vancouver area where it drains into the Georgia Strait.

The Fraser Valley where it pertains to wineries is divided into two regions on this website, based on the area's regional districts: Greater Vancouver and the Eastern Valley.

Early Wineries in the Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley was the second region in British Columbia to have a licensed winery.

It is said that James Mckinney started the Myrtena Winery in 1924 in Steveston and produced Loganberry Wines. Steveston is located on the South Western part of Lulu Island and is now part of Richmond BC.

From the Steveston Museum in Richmond, BC the accompanying text of a picture states:
"James McKinney was a wealthy man. Besides being the Customs Agent he was a land developer and entrepreneur. At the height of prohibition in the U.S.A. McKinney went to California, bought a winery and moved it to Richmond. In 1924 he started Myrtena Winery, named for his daughter Myrtle and his daughter-in-law Christena, and was soon producing up to 600,000 gallons of loganberry wine annually. The winery closed in 1934."

Richmond Wineries appears to be a joint partnership between William R. Simpson and Mr. McKinney. (Very well possible that it consisted out of two wineries.)

The trade mark "Myrtena" was registered on the 19th of March 1927 by William R. Simpson of Steveston, British Columbia "Myrtena Pure Loganberry Wine manufactured by Richmond Wineries Lulu Island, BC"

In that same year this Winery was joined by another, smaller, Loganberry wine producing winery, Rathbun's Winery located on Blundell Road. Before producing wine, Mr. Rathbun produced Loganberry juice.

In 1933 The Rathbuns suffered a fire in the winery and that was basically the end for that winery.

Three years later on November 18, 1936, Richmond Wineries was sold to the Growers' Wine Company Ltd. ending the early presence of wineries in the Fraser Valley area.

It took 23 for another winery to be established in this area when in 1959 Pacific Western Wines started up in New Westminster, changing its name shortly after to West Coast Wines. In 1961 they were joined by another winery, Andres Wines in Port Moody.

In 1966 Jordan Valley took over the New Westminster West Coast Wines changing the name to Villa Wines. In 1973 Jordan Valley joined with Castle Wines of Victoria and became known as Jordan & Ste-Michelle Cellars. Their New Westminster location winery, Villa Wines, was shut down the next year.

Three years later in1977, Jordan & Ste-Michelle Cellars shut down their Victoria wineries and opened up a new plant in Surrey. In 1986 T.G. Bright and Co Ltd acquires Jordan & Ste-Michelle Cellars Ltd. and the name Jordan is dropped from the name and the winery continues on as Ste-Michelle Cellars.

In the meantime Beaupré Wines opened up in 1983 in Langley. This winery stayed in production till 1989 when its parent company, Potters Distillery, purchased Calona Wines of Kelowna and closed their doors of their Langley location.

By the end of 1989 there were only two commercial wineries left operating in the Fraser Valley Area.