Planet Wine: Burrowing Owl Estate, Oliver, British Columbia.

burrowing owl estate

This incredible view can be found at Burrowing Owl Estate, near the small town of Oliver in southern British Columbia, not quite seven miles north of the U.S. (Washington)-Canadian border. While the house looks a bit like a Bond villain headquarters–at least from this angle–the beauty of the landscape can’t be denied. Burrowing Owl is located in the Okanagan Wine Region of British Columbia, one of Canada’s premium wine-producing areas. The estate farms 140 acres of vineyards and uses smart environmental practices, which is crucial because this location happens to be in quite a delicate ecosystem. In fact the winery is named for the burrowing owl, a creature that makes its home here as well as numerous other places in North America.

Jim Wyse, the founder of Burrowing Owl, planted the first grapes here in 1993, and the first wine came from the estate in 1997. The winery makes mostly reds, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah, though they also make a Chardonnay. As with many wineries I’ve showcased on this series, Burrowing Owl uses environmentally sound viticulture practices, which is a must given the biodiversity in this region. One interesting detail is that Burrowing Owl uses all-natural forms of pest control: birds and especially bats, which are encouraged to live near the vines in boxes and nests specially-constructed to attract them.

Canada’s wines are increasing in international stature all the time, and wineries of this sort are on the cutting edge. I live not too far from BC and have been there before, so I may well put Burrowing Owl on a bucket list for a future visit.

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