New scholarship to honour Canadian wine icon Harry McWatters

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

Just Posted

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Birtch Parlee is one of approximately 132,000 transgender people living across the nation, according to Statistics Canada. Photo submitted
Transgender in a small town – Princeton B.C.

“I buried it. I pushed it down. I lived a lie.”

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Dan Albas
COLUMN: Reopening the international border

Governments in Canada and the United States are working towards reopening plans for the border

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Most Read