The winery has contributed more than $1 million to the
Burrowing Owl Conservation Society over the years and this
program now sustains most of the society’s work.
Of particular note are the Bordeaux
varieties, especially cabernet sauvignon
and merlot, which have earned interna-tional
praise for the South Okanagan.
This year, the winery will release its first
cabernet franc rosé under the Burrowing
“Just as it’s been from Day 1, all of
our grapes are hand-picked,” said Wyse-
McNolty. “We don’t use any machine har-vesting
The winery features a hillside design
and a gravity-flow press, which, as the name
suggests, uses gravity to assist with the
movement of juice from the crush pad to
the fermenting and blending tanks, and the
underground barrel cellars, where more
than 75 per cent of the 2,500 barrels are
premium French oak.
About 35,000 to 40,000 cases are pro-duced
each year, and another 10,000 cases
of their Calliope label brings the total pro-duction
to about 50,000 cases.
There’s even a non-vintage Burrowing
Owl port-style fortified wine. Made from
Syrah grapes, it is named Coruja, after the
Portuguese word for owl – and a nod to the
wine style’s country of origin.
“We make premium wines that are
meant to age and we were committed to that
consistency, right from the get-go,” Wyse-
McNolty said. “Burrowing Owl is about that
unwavering commitment to quality with as
little intervention as possible.”
Burrowing Owl wines are for sale
across Canada and around the world,
including Austria, the Cayman Islands,
Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the U.K, and
Creating world-class wine is not the
family’s only focus, however. Protecting and
respecting the environment is an essen-tial
part of the Burrowing Owl philosophy.
As part of its corporate social responsibil-ity
plan, the team installed its first solar
energy panels in 2006. By 2016, their total
solar production became the largest at any
B.C. winery, enough to provide power to 22
In 2017, they added eight electric car
charging stations to the parking lot.
Jim and Midge have long been
dedicated conservationists and that
is reflected in every corner of the land.
There are more than 100 bluebird boxes
and, in the springtime, barriers protect
ground-nesting birds such as meadowlarks
from the farm machinery. Rattlenakes are
relocated, not destroyed, and even the big-ger
animals – bears and big-horned sheep –
are discouraged from grazing on the grapes,
but are never harmed. Big-horn sheep live
in the hills adjacent to the vineyards and
raptors circle the skies daily.
Even the winery’s name reflects the
family’s dedication to supporting the natu-ral
environment. Shortly after buying the
W I N E RY P R O F I L E
Jim Wyse with the winery’s namesake,
a burrowing owl
10 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca