Burrowing Owl Vineyard's Chris Wise was recently in town to spread the word about his BC wines.

Burrowing Owl’s Chris Wyse was recently in town to spread the word about his BC wines, with his current releases showing undeniable confidence and panache.

British Columbia’s pioneering Burrowing Owl Estate Winery have had representation in Ontario since my early days as a Sommelier in Canada, and I used to order a fair bit of their Chardonnay and Pinot Gris when I managed the list for Toronto’s Granite Club, and later for Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. Today they are working with our friends at Le Sommelier, and in a recent early morning tasting of their wines I noted that much had changed at Burrowing Owl, and all very much for the better.

Since founder Jim Wyse started replanting his newly purchased vineyard in 1993, Burrowing Owl has seen a fair number of different winemakers pass through their cellar doors. Looking back at my notes on these wines over the past decade and a half, I see that over the course of the intervening years, consistency was perhaps not one of the winery’s strongest suits. Some of the wines I had rated reasonably highly, others much less so.

Upon reviewing the current range a few months back I observed that Burrowing Owl have most certainly found their groove once again. As well as the whites that I had seen such great promise in all those years ago, Burrowing Owl now produce a strong range of Bordeaux varietals, plus a little Syrah that is also certainly worth seeking out. Despite my misgivings regarding the suitability of Pinot Noir in the Okanagan Valley, I’d say that the winery have really nailed it with regards to their red portfolio. Burrowing Owl are certainly up there when it comes to the iconic wine estates of the region.

Good Food Revolution sat down with Chris Wyse (son of founder, Jim) and spoke about where Burrowing Owl sees itself today.


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Jamie Drummond

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he is certainly going to keep an eye on the future releases from Burrowing Owl… he was particularly intrigued by the Syrah and the Malbec.