Storm Riders: Rocky Creek Winery

The Storm Riders series aims to celebrate the strength of our industry while highlighting some of the many ways businesses have overcome the challenges resulting from COVID-19. We are proud to showcase how the following businesses have adapted while celebrating the people who are at the heart of what we do. In this post, we hear from Mark Holford at Rocky Creek Winery in Cowichan Bay. 

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve always loved winemaking since I learned it as a young adult from my father.  It’s a fascinating blend of art and science and allows me to create something special.  Making something delicious from fruit you have grown yourself is a truly rewarding profession.

What is your hope for the future of our region?

I hope our region continues to develop authentic, regional wines that represent the beauty of the land we live in, and the hard working people who struggle daily to make it even better.

What do you most want people to know about your business?

Wineries are farms first.  Unless we grow amazing fruit we can’t produce amazing wine.  Most of my time is spent in the vineyard, being a steward of the land.  Everyone needs to support local agricultural businesses, or there won’t be any.

In your own words, please share “Travel matters because … “

We live very sheltered lives and there is amazing diversity in the world which most of us only get to experience a tiny fraction of.

Other than your own business, what are 3 other businesses in your community that visitors should experience?

  1. Whale watching in Cowichan Bay (Ocean Ecoventures) – whales are meant to be observed in the ocean, not in a tank.
  2. Drum roaster coffee (some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted)
  3. Craig Street Brew Pub (like most winemakers, I’m also an avid craft beer drinker, and love to chill at a local brewpub)

The spark to own/work in this business must motivate you each day. – what are some of your past experiences that have contributed to this spark?

Winning the award for best fruit wine in Canada.  It’s mind-blowing to have your hard work recognized as the absolute best in the entire country.  But just as much it’s pouring wine for people and hearing them say just how much they love what I do, and how they’ve enjoyed my wines with some of their most memorable life moments.