The annual Cowichan Valley Wine Festival sold more than 1,500 tickets this year. (Courtesy of Tourism Cowichan)

Business notes: Cowichan Valley Wine Festival deemed a success this year

Here are some of the notable things happening in Cowichan’s business community

The Cowichan Valley Wine Festival, hosted over the month of August, was a sell-out success this year.

More than 1,500 ticket purchasers attended 13 local wineries last month, and Jill Nessel, executive director of Tourism Cowichan, said that by all accounts, the wine tour was an incredible event that was executed under strict WorkSafeBC conditions to keep everyone safe.

During the wine tour this year, guests had the time to enjoy the region at their own pace, while ensuring the wineries are able to adhere to proper sanitation and capacity protocols.

“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,” Nessel said when the wine tour began.


Lise Haddock is the new executive director of the Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Haddock comes to the CMHA with experience in her own consulting firm, and as having been director of Aboriginal Initiatives for the provincial Representative for Children and Youth, project manager for the Provincial Health Services Authority Aboriginal Health program, and executive director of Lalum’utul’ Smuneem Child and Family Services.

She is also the recipient of the University of Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award, the Premier’s Award Promoting Innovation and Excellence, Aboriginal Agency Information Sharing Initiative, and the Aboriginal Success by 6 Champion for Children Award of Excellence.

A press release from the CMHA said Haddock lives in Duncan and the organization is lucky to have her leading the CMHA in the Cowichan Valley.

“We would also like to thank Anne Brunet,” the release said.

“Anne spent the last six months gracefully juggling dual roles as our acting executive director and also chief administrative officer, all during a pandemic. Thank you Anne and welcome Lise.”


The auto body repair shop CARSTAR Duncan (Isherwood) has been officially certified by Certified Collision Care, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization for the industry.

In achieving its certification, CARSTAR Duncan (Isherwood) is now an integral part of the most advanced repair capable and efficient collision repair network in the world.

Adding to their credentials, CARSTAR Duncan (Isherwood) is now officially certified by Certified Collision Care, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, and Kia.

To become certified by the various automakers, CARSTAR Duncan (Isherwood) passed the rigorous certification process essential to help ensure a proper and safe repair of the new generation of advanced vehicles.

Less than five per cent of body shops across the nation are able to meet the stringent requirements to become officially certified and recognized.

According to spokesman Ryan Isherwood, the company, located at 5440 Trans Canada Hwy. in Duncan, worked hard to stay ahead of the curve in the collision repair industry.

“This official certification demonstrates that commitment to our customers,” he said.

“We take pride in our highly trained technicians who use the latest tools and equipment to deliver a top quality repair and the best customer service.”


Cairnsmore Street’s Fishbowl Cafe has been chosen as the Best Coffee Shop in the region in the Cowichan Valley Citizen’s second annual Best of the Valley competition.

There are more than 100 winners in the 47 categories this year, and all the winners are listed in an insert in today’s edition of the newspaper.

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 a variety of categories.

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


Work places and individuals in the Cowichan Valley are being asked to sign up for the United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island’s annual fundraising campaign.

UWCNVI is, once again, partnering with Island Health as one of the first workplaces in its region to launch its annual campaign.

Island Health is one of more than 300 workplace organizations that supports UWCNVI through fundraising and individual one-time or monthly payroll donations.

Last year, through the generosity of local donors, more than 17,000 people in the Cowichan Valley were able to access 20 high-impact programs through 14 agencies.

UWCNVI’s annual fall campaign is underway despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on workplaces and in society as a whole.

Signy Madden, executive director of the UWCNVI said local communities are facing challenges they have never seen before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through our ongoing community development work, we know that our local partner agencies need more help than ever because of the constantly shifting pandemic and the increased need of their services,” she said.

“Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we can keep helping our local communities as together we navigate this unprecedented time.”

Individuals and workplaces interested in hosting a United Way campaign and showing their local love for their community can visit or email

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