New scholarship to honour Canadian wine icon Harry McWatters

McWatters’ passing left “massive void” in the B.C. wine industry.

When Canadian wine icon Harry McWatters suddenly passed away last summer, the sense of loss that so many felt went well beyond his personal relationships.

At McWatters’ service in Penticton, many of the 1,500 in attendance wondered who might fill the void in the B.C. wine industry which he helped forge and cultivate for more than 40 years.

The Chefs’ Table Society of B.C. quickly recognized the need to salute McWatters’ legacy.

“Our member chefs serve hundreds of bottles of B.C. wines every day,” said Robert Belcham, president of Chefs’ Table.

“I like to think there’s a little bit of Harry in every one of them. In retrospect, it’s astounding what Harry and his fellow pioneers accomplished in just over three decades — B.C. wines are securely on the global map.”

In honour of McWatters, Chefs’ Table is launching a new scholarship through the Okanagan College Foundation with an initial contribution of $2,000 per annum for a minimum period of five years. Students who are enrolled in a wine or tourism program at Okanagan College and participating in an international education experience will be eligible for the scholarship.

“We’ve donated first, but it’s really a call to action: We invite industry associations, wineries and private individuals to enhance our gift by donating online or contacting the Okanagan College Foundation and pledging their support,” said Belcham.

McWatters is a legend in the world of the British Columbia wine industry. He was perhaps best known as the founder of Sumac Estate Winery and as the director of the British Columbia Wine Institute. McWatters is remembered in the industry as a leader in developing quality standards for wine growing, wine making, and wine marketing.

READ MORE: Prestigious award renamed for late wine industry pioneer Harry McWatters

“Harry’s mentorship is rightly legendary,” said Jonathan Rouse, associate dean of the Okanagan School of Business and director of food, wine and tourism at Okanagan College.

“He always had his eye on emerging talent in the business, and vigorously mentored young people, through his roles as founder of the BC Wine Institute and his many ongoing industry affiliations.”

McWatters taught at the college and was bestowed an honorary doctorate for his vast contributions in the B.C. wine community.

WcWatters’ wife Lisa Lalonde and his family will also be contributing to the scholarship.

“Harry collected experiences. He loved nothing more than planning trips based on where we would dine, what we would drink and who we would visit. We think Harry would love the creative use of these funds, and our family is pleased to add to the initial contribution in the amount of $1,000 per annum,” said Lalonde.

READ MORE: Oliver to be future home of Canada’s first District Wine Village

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

wine

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alleged drunk driver has licence suspended following Kelowna bridge crash

The 31-year-old Calgary man, was issued a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition

BC Hotel Association announces Ingrid Jarrett as first female CEO in history

The Kelowna resident has been longstanding member of BC’s tourism and hospitality sector

Kelowna RCMP seize illicit drugs from Lower Mission home

Four individuals were taken into police custody but were released pending further investigation

Missing Kelowna snowmobiler found safe

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Warriors fall in Family Day sweep to Smoke Eaters

West Kelowna lost 5-2 to Trail on Monday, will play final two games of season this weekend

Protesters barricade Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of B.C. budget unveiling

Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion have blocked the Langford driveway

Play sparks curiosity through movement in Vernon

Hands and Feet invites theatre newcomers to fall in love with production

Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatre makes a splash with Girl in the Goldfish Bowl

Performance packed full of surprises, director Cara Nunn says

Victoria, Abbotsford record biggest jumps in rent prices nationwide: report

Toronto and Vancouver had priciest rentals in Canada

VIDEO: Convoy of forest industry supporters on its way to Victoria

Rally at the B.C. legislature begins with participants setting off from Campbell River

Summerland basketball team advances to Provincials

Summerland senior girls team wins regional meet, will compete in Langley

Summerland property taxes forecast to rise

Proposed municipal budget calls for increase of four per cent

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Morning Start: Canadian Rocky Mountain healing waters

Your morning start for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Most Read