On July 23rd, 2019, the wine industry lost the friend, mentor, and force majeure that was Harry McWatters. The following is an excerpt from his obituary outlining his extraordinary life and the impact that he made on all of us,
Harry exemplified hospitality: generous with his time, knowledge, and passion. His entrepreneurial spirit was embodied in his larger than life persona. Harry knew marketing and how to relate to people from a very young age. With a vision and confidence, Harry has been a driving force in the British Columbia and Canadian wine industry for more than 50 years, starting at Casabello Wines in 1968. In 1980, Harry became the founder of British Columbia’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge and followed with See Ya Later Ranch. He was a pioneer in establishing the Okanagan Wine Festival Society. In 1990, Harry was appointed by the province of British Columbia to chair the newly formed British Columbia Wine Institute. He was the founding Chair of the British Columbia Wine Information Society, founding Chair of Vintners Quality Alliance of Canada spearheading national wine standards, founding Chair of the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation, and a long term Director on the Canadian Vintners Association. Most recently, he was the President and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards (Evolve Cellars in Summerland and TIME Winery & Kitchen in Penticton), and loved working alongside his children to see these projects come to life and thrive as they are today.
Harry was not only a wonderful friend and mentor, but his contributions helped shape the British Columbia wine industry as we know it today. For that and so much more, we are and will be forever grateful. We miss you, Harry, and we raise a glass in your honour. Time Winery & Kitchen will be live streaming the Celebration of Life for Harry McWatters for those unable to attend in person, you can view it here.