History

Okanagan Wine Festival Logo

History

The Founder’s Award was established in 1985 by Harry McWatters. This award recognizes outstanding and selfless contributions to the wine and grape growing industry and is given each year as an acknowledgment to pioneers of British Columbia wine. The award is open to all who impact the BC wine industry in a significant way. Recipients represent all sectors of the industry.

As the Founding President of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, Harry was ineligible to receive the award during his lifetime. Sadly, Harry passed away in 2019, and last year he was presented the Founder’s Award as a posthumous homage. To further honour Harry’s legacy, the award was renamed the “Harry McWatters Founder’s Award.”  

By nomination process, the award recipient is determined in Fall of each year and is announced at the BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards Ceremony. To nominate a candidate for the 2020 Harry McWatters Founder’s Award, please complete the nomination form below. Nominations are being accepted until Friday, September 11th. .


Past Recipients

Rafe Mair, 2020
Harry McWatters, 2019
Christine Coletta, 2018
Sandra Oldfield, 2017
Stephen Cipes, 2016
Jurgen Gothe, 2015
Leo Gebert, 2014
Don Triggs, 2013
Lanny Martiniuk, 2012
John Vielvoye, 2011
Bill Collings, 2010
Gehringer Family, 2009
Anthony von Mandl, 2008
Les Adams, 2007
Adolf Kruger, 2006
Dave Gamble, 2005
Frank Whitehead, 2004
W.M.(Bill) Cross, 2003
John Schreiner, 2002
Rick Thorpe, 2001
Marjorie King, 2000
Connie Bielert, 1999
Howard Soon, 1998
Lynn & John Bremmer, 1997
Richard Cleave, 1996
Michael Warren, 1995
Maurice Gregoire, 1994
The Heiss Family, 1993
Ron Taylor, 1992
The Hughes, Dulik, Schmidt, Casorso Families, 1991
The Capozzi Family, 1990
Dick Stewart, 1989
Evans Lougheed, 1988
Tony Biollo, 1987
Lyall Denby, 1985

British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards Recognizes Record-Breaking Number of Wines, Honours Rafe Mair
October 16 2020
British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards Recognizes Record-Breaking Number of Wines, Honours Rafe Mair

For immediate release (KELOWNA, BC) October 16, 2020 -The third annual 2020 British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awardswere...


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BC’s Largest and Most Prestigious Wine Competition Coming to Kelowna
August 16 2020
BC’s Largest and Most Prestigious Wine Competition Coming to Kelowna

For Immediate Release Okanagan Wine Festivals Societyto host an A-list of wine judges (KELOWNA, BC)August 12, 2020–On September 23-25,...


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Virtual Okanagan Wine Dinner Challenge
April 15 2020
Virtual Okanagan Wine Dinner Challenge

Immediate Release Virtual Okanagan Wine Dinner Challenge! (April 8, 2020, Kelowna, BC) April is BC Wine month, so let's share the love for...


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Get your tickets for the fourth annual Chef Meets BC Grape Okanagan June 27
March 12 2020
Get your tickets for the fourth annual Chef Meets BC Grape Okanagan June 27

MEDIA RELEASE Get your tickets for the fourth annual Chef Meets BC Grape Okanagan June 27 Suggested...


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BC Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards

British Columbia's oldest and most prestigious wine judging competition that recognizes excellence in winemaking for all British Columbia wineries.


Meet our Members

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.


BC Best of Varietal Awards

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.


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