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Balance is a time-honoured goal in the making of premium wines and working toward balance is a way of life at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Founder Jim Wyse is committed to balance, well beyond that of the fine, world-class wines being produced. A kind of Hippocratic oath (“to do no harm”) underlies the creative viticultural and enological practices at Burrowing Owl.
The northernmost tip of the antelope brush ecosystem
The winery and vineyards lie within the northernmost tip of the antelope brush ecosystem, which is part of a semi-arid shrub-steppe1 that lies within the western United States. The location (on a southwest-tilting, sandy plateau) near the north end of Osoyoos Lake, is one of the most highly rated grape-growing locations in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and for that matter Canada.
In 1993, when Jim Wyse began to replant the vineyards which had been carefully selected for their ability to produce world class, premium quality grapes, the winery was not part of his long term vision. Having recognized the potential of this location, Jim was gratified to see wines made with his grapes gaining immediate recognition.
Finally, the decision to build Burrowing Owl Estate Winery was confirmed and a winery license was obtained in 1997. Construction began in early 1998 and completed just in time for that year’s harvest. The site has since been enhanced with a beautiful fine-dining Restaurant and luxurious Guest House.
“…one of Canada’s
The varied and deceptively fragile desert ecosystems within the adjoining vineyards continually challenge the environmentally sensitive team at Burrowing Owl. Alternative pest control systems are the standard. More than 100 bluebird boxes and two bat nurseries invite insect-eating guests to stay awhile and dine in the vineyards. Ground nests of meadowlarks are protected by barriers in springtime to prevent farm machinery and vineyard workers from inadvertently destroying them. Snakes are safely relocated. Bears and big horned sheep are discouraged from sharing the harvest but never harmed.
Today, with its dramatic vantage point in the middle of the vineyard, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is a winemaking facility that combines state-of-the-art technologies with proven, classic winemaking traditions. A gravity-flow system handles ripe grapes delicately, preserving their rich fruit character. Extensive underground cellaring capacity ensures that long term barrel aging is never limited by space.
You can find Burrowing Owl wines at many fine restaurants and wine shops and of course, at the winery itself. And when you visit, be sure to bring your binoculars.
1) Shrub-steppe is a type of low rainfall natural grassland. Shrub-steppes are distinguishable from deserts, which are too dry to support a noticeable cover of perennial grasses or other shrubs, while the shrub-steppe has sufficient moisture levels to support a cover of perennial grasses and/or shrubs.