Family Bios


Jim Wyse – Founder & Proprietor

Jim_Wyse_ProprietorJames (Jim) Wyse was born in 1938 in Toronto, where he grew up. He studied Structural Engineering at U of T. After 4 years of bridge building with Ontario Highways, he studied business at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School in London, earning an MBA. After 2 years in Ottawa selling nuclear products internationally with Atomic Energy Canada Ltd, Jim and his family moved to Vancouver in 1968, where Jim worked as a business management consultant for 4 years. After a brief 18-month hiatus back in Ottawa managing a local ski area through a temporary crisis, Jim returned to Vancouver to start up his own development company in 1973. Over the next 25 years, Jim’s primary business was to re-develop inner city properties into condominiums throughout the lower mainland, Oklahoma City, Denver and Whistler.

While cleaning up one such development project in Vernon in 1993, Jim was introduced to some relatively inexpensive and abandoned vineyard land south of Oliver that was then being sold. This property became the first 100 acres for Burrowing Owl Vineyards. Knowing little about the grape and wine industry, Jim found good, experienced people to run the vineyard and eventually make and market the wine. In his own words, his job was to monitor the costs, arrange the financing, write the cheques and make sure that all of this activity was making sense from a business point of view.

On a personal note, Jim enjoys old-timers hockey and jazz piano, which he still plays enthusiastically. Midge and Jim are still involved at the winery; surprisingly, their three children have also been drawn into the wine industry. All 4 of their grandchildren also have summer jobs at the winery in hospitality roles, and you will find them in the Wine Shop and Sonora Room Restaurant.

Chris Wyse – President

Chris joined the family business in 2006 and assumed the President’s role in 2007. As the oldest son of founders Jim and Midge Wyse, Chris came to the business with an informed understanding of the family’s vision for premium quality and excellence, which he has blended into his guidance for the company’s brand’s opportunities and potential.  He shares the family’s passion for excellence and environmentally sensitive land stewardship with a proficiency for generating it in others.  Chris brings astute business skills to the company, which he has applied in his focus on continuous measured growth and expansion. Chris embraces a traditional approach to winemaking but with continuous sights on technical innovations. Chris’ approach to leadership prioritizes healthy living, family values and a supportive team environment that encourages continuous professional development.

Kerri Wyse-McNolty, Vice President

After earning a degree in Sports Marketing from the University of British Columbia, Kerri followed her passion for the ski industry and spent 10 years working for Whistler & Blackcomb Resort in charge of strategic alliances and corporate partnerships while operating a PR and Media Relations firm that oversaw public relations for Paramount Pictures’ film releases in Western Canada. In 2004, Kerri and her husband, Steve, moved their young family to the South Okanagan. Kerri continued business development contracts for Whistler Resort and managed a cooperative marketing program for the Okanagan ski resorts. In 2007, Kerri joined the family at Burrowing Owl and today is the Vice President overseeing marketing, the hospitality division and the company’s corporate donation & charitable fundraising program. Kerri has two university-aged kids who work at the winery and a golden retriever named Rusty, who can often be found greeting guests. Kerri recently completed an MBA in Leadership at Royal Roads University.