Burrowing Owl wines are some of the most popular choices on our wine menu. Our first experience with the winery was several years ago with a 2005 Pinot Gris which was full of lucious peach and grapefruit that was just perfect with our seafood dinner. We now delve into the history of the winery and share it with you here.
Named after the endangered owl that lives around the winery area, Burrowing Owl Estates was started in 1993 by Jim Wyse a Vancouver developer who was looking to invest in a new type of business. He purchased an obscure vineyard in Oliver to start his enterprise.
The winery estate is situated within one of Canada’s most unique ecosystems which includes the northernmost tip of the Sonora Desert. 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 not just in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys but Canada as well. Location and premium grape varieties are two of the vineyards’ greatest assets.
Burrowing Owl is considered a pioneer and one of the premiere wineries in British Columbia. With around 140 acres of vineyards, the winery produces about 30,000 cases of wine per year. Like the Locus, the environmentally minded estate only uses organic viticulture methods for production. They also take great care of the environment with alternative pest control methods by maintaining bluebird boxes and two bat nurseries. Snakes are removed but unharmed and meadowlarks are protected by barriers to prevent damage from farm machinery and workers.
The winery has slowly expanded over the years. While the mostly underground production facility was completed in 1998, a viewing tower was completed in 2002. 2003 saw the introduction of a large wine shop, tasting bar and restaurant. In 2004, the underground caves were expanded to double capacity. Lastly in 2005, a large expansion was built to enclose a larger wine shop, offices and a new 10 room guesthouse.
Burrowing Owl makes eight types of wine from grapes grown exclusively from their own crops. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Meritage (a premium blend), Merlot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Ask your server for the latest offerings we carry from this excellent world class vineyard.
This is the first in our series of posts covering noteworthy suppliers we carry in our restaurant. Check our blog for regular posts on our premiere suppliers.