The GOODS from Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Oliver, BC | Burrowing Owl Estate Winery has just taken further steps to help BC’s endangered wildlife, including the burrowing owl for which the winery is named. The winery used funds raised in their tasting room to purchase land and return it to the South Okanagan Rehab Centre for Owls (SORCO) and the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC (BOCS).
In 2003, The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) saved the day for SORCO founder Sherry Klein, by purchasing her land that was the home of her rehabilitation centre for injured birds of prey. The site also attracted the BOCS. These two societies thought their future at that location was assured. In early 2013, however, TLC went into creditor protection and every property in its portfolio was at risk of being sold to satisfy creditors. This put both societies in a state of uncertainty, which has affected almost every decision they have made over the last year. It could also have had a negative effect on the amount of financial support the societies receive.
Jim Wyse, the Chair of Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, was able to convince the court that, for a modest fee of $50,000, this property should be released from creditor protection and conveyed to the two societies so that this situation would never repeat itself. Jim, who has been a director of both societies at various times, and has a land development background, was able to stickhandle through the bureaucratic maze to acquire the property with the court’s full approval.
“We collect a ‘voluntary’ $3.00 donation from all of our winery visitors, and these funds are used for a wide variety of strictly environmental and conservation uses,” Wyse notes. “Every year these donations provide about $80,000 so that we have been able to provide essential funding when government sources have really dried up.”
Today, thanks to the hard work of Mr. Wyse, SORCO and BOCS are proud joint-owners of the property just north of Oliver, BC where their programs operate. The future is bright for all involved, including TLC, which at last report is expected to come out of this period of protection and reorganization stronger than ever.
The People Who Make It Happen
Jim Wyse, Founder & Proprietor
Chris Wyse, President
Kerri Wyse-McNolty, Marketing Director
Tom DiBello, Winemaker
Brock Bowes, Executive Chef, The Sonora Room Restaurant
Dave Keeler, Operator, The Sonora Room Restaurant
Lynn Coulthard, Manager, The Sonora Room Restaurant
About Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Located near the north end of Osoyoos Lake in BC’s fabled Okanagan Valley, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is devoted to crafting world-class wines in an environmentally-sustainable manner. Founder Jim Wyse has always had a strong commitment to striving for balance in all things, and this philosophy infuses everything that’s done at Burrowing Owl, from viticulture to winemaking. In the vineyard, the natural balance is maintained by recruiting bluebirds and bats to help control harmful insects; at the winemaking facilities, state-of-the-art technology is employed along with traditional winemaking methods. Remarkable for its strikingly beautiful setting as well as its environmental leadership, the winery has become a destination for wine lovers around the globe: every year Burrowing Owl welcomes over 100,000 visitors at its Wine Shop, Sonora Room Restaurant, and Guest House. Burrowing Owl’s success has also benefited our feathered friends, as the winery supports conservation work that is helping its namesake, the endangered burrowing owl, make a comeback in British Columbia.
The Sonora Room Restaurant
Burrowing Owl’s Sonora Room restaurant showcases the best of the Okanagan in both food and wine. We serve creative Pacific Northwest cuisine featuring local ingredients and products, including fresh fruit and vegetables and artisanal breads and cheeses. Sonora Room staff are always happy to recommend the perfect pairing from our exclusive wine list, which includes Burrowing Owl library wines no longer available for public sale. Feast your eyes on spectacular views of the Burrowing Owl vineyards as you enjoy lunch or dinner in our warm, inviting dining room or on our patio. The Sonora Room is open daily throughout the season; reservations are recommended.
The Burrowing Owl Guest House
Offering stunning views of the Burrowing Owl vineyards, our Guest House features ten spacious south-facing rooms, each with a fireplace and private deck. Amenities include an outdoor pool, an all-season hot tub, and our Fireside Lounge. We also offer Wine Country breakfasts and in-room spa treatments. Those wishing to combine business with pleasure will find our Board Room and AV presentation facilities ideal for corporate retreats.