BC wine pioneer Harry McWatters dies

Harry McWatters, one of the pioneers of winemaking in British Columbia, has died suddenly aged 74.

The founder of several estates including Sumac Ridge and See You Later in the Okanagan Valley and who helped establish the BC Wine Institute and Vintners Quality Alliance designation, McWatters died at his home in Summerland on Tuesday.

His death has been greeted with shock by those who knew him as he was not known to be ill.

Having founded Sumac Ridge in the 1980s the first estate winery in the province – McWatters considered it one of his proudest moments when it was voted Pacific Northwests’s winery of the year in 2003.

The creation of the VQA standards in 1990 were, he said, “the single most pivotal point of change within the Canadian wine industry, but particularly the Okanagan Valley.”

Leaving Sumac in 2008, he set up a consultancy business and founded Time Estate and Kitchen.

Time Estate posted on social media: “Harry’s sudden passing comes as a surprise to all as he was only last week celebrating the success and anniversary of our downtown Penticton winery, Time Winery and Kitchen.”

Memorial details are being finalised.

One Response to “BC wine pioneer Harry McWatters dies”

  1. Jean Taylor says:

    We’ve lost a Giant. RIP Mr. McWatters…so glad I had the chance to meet you, dine with you and hear some of your stories. Thank you for everything!

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