KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – July 24, 2019: It is with great sadness that the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society absorbs the news of the passing of Harry McWatters. Harry was an icon and legend in the BC Wine industry, and many called him the ‘Godfather of BC Wine.”
Harry founded Sumac Ridge Winery in Summerland in 1980, and had a passion for wine and life like none other. This year would have been his 52nd vintage and he leaves an unparalleled legacy. Just last week he celebrated the first anniversary of his most recent project, Time Winery & Kitchen in downtown Penticton.
On behalf of our board of directors and member wineries, many of whom have worked with or been mentored by Harry over the years, we send our deep condolences to his loving partner, Lisa, his children, Christa-Lee and Darrien as well as his grandsons and extended family.
He was the founding president of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, first chair of the B.C. Wine Institute and an internationally renowned and acclaimed judge and expert. He was awarded the Order of B.C. in 2003.
Angela Brown, board chair of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, said of Harry, “As the founder of the Wine Festivals Society, Harry had a tremendous vision. His passion for B.C. wines and pride in watching the industry grow was unmatched. Today we have lost an industry giant and true champion. His family are part of our family and we know the industry will feel this loss deeply. To Harry, we shall all raise a glass in gratitude and respect.”
About The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society:
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is responsible for producing four seasonally inspired Okanagan Wine Festivals in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. It is also responsible for Signature Wine Events including Sensation, the fall wine finale by Valley First, the WestJet Wine Tastings, and more. It produces and runs two annual wine judging competitions: the British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Competition, and the province’s most prestigious and oldest wine competition, the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. For more information visit, www.thewinefestivals.com.
Marketing and PR Manager
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
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British Columbia's oldest and most prestigious wine judging competition that recognizes excellence in winemaking for all British Columbia wineries.
The Okanagan Wine Festival Society is made up of a number of Okanagan wineries and tourism related businesses. Every member is recognized as an outstanding service or product supplier in their related industry.
Every year the Best of Varietal Wine Awards recognizes the best wines in B.C., using a panel of esteemed judges. This year we were privileged to have a diverse group of wine experts from across the country join us and participate in the competition.