Conservation is at the heart of this B.C. family winery
There are a lot of beautiful wines
being made in British Columbia.
Indeed, said Kerri Wyse-
McNolty, “there are a lot of beautiful wines
being made in Canada.”
What is it, then, that sets Burrowing
Owl Estate Winery apart from the rest?
“Balance, quality, history and family,”
she said. “The combination of those four
values – that’s what makes us unique.”
This year, Burrowing Owl Vineyards
will celebrate its 27th anniversary.
While much has changed since those
early days, the winery is still family-owned
and making award-winning wines that are
sold and enjoyed around the world.
Located midway between the towns of
Oliver and Osoyoos, in the Okanagan Valley,
Burrowing Owl Vineyards was started in
1993 by West Coast developer Jim Wyse
and his wife Midge Wyse. They planted their
original 100-acre plot with vinifera grapes,
which were then sold to existing wineries.
The vineyard’s outstanding quality
soon motivated the Wyses to apply for a
winery license in 1997. They then built
Burrowing Owl Winery, which was com-pleted
just in time for the 1998 harvest.
The couple’s commitment to the win-ery
and the region attracted their children
to the business, the valley and the land’s
These days, while Jim and Midge
remain involved in the winery, their eldest
son Chris Wyse is the winery’s president,
overseeing winemaking, the vineyards and
even IT, while their daughter Kerri is the
vice-president of marketing and hospitality.
She was 23 when her parents pur-chased
the land and she never intended
to be part of their burgeoning viticulture
adventure. Instead, she finished a kinesiol-ogy
degree and then worked in sports mar-keting
on the West Coast, living for a time
“But my husband and I were hav-ing
our second child, so we moved to the
Okanagan to be close to the family,” Wyse-
“Once I moved here, I realized how
much my parents had accomplished. I was
so proud of them and I realized I wanted to
be a part of it, too.”
Since those early days, the Burrowing
Owl property has expanded to include 210
acres of vineyard land, some of the best in
the Okanagan Valley, as well as an award-winning
on-site restaurant and a 10-room
The winery itself was designed by
renowned B.C. architect Robert MacKenzie,
whose work can also be seen at many other
wineries throughout the Okanagan Valley,
including Hillside Winery, Nk’Mip Cellars
and Painted Rock Estate Winery.
Sixteen grape varieties are grown at
Burrowing Owl. In addition to several red
blends, they focus on single varietal bot-tlings,
including cabernet franc, Pinot Noir,
syrah and sauvignon blanc.
By Shelley Boettcher
W I N E RY P R O F I L E
SUMMER 2020 § POURED CANADA § 9