Veteran vintner Harry McWatters bites into one of the first bunches of grapes to be crushed in his upcoming TIME Winery location in Penticton at the winery’s inaugural crush Monday afternoon. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

TIME Winery crushes first grapes

The Penticton’s inaugural crush was also owner Harry McWatters’ 50th consecutive

You might not tell from the sidewalk at 361 Main Street, but amid all the construction equipment, history was being made.

An early pioneer, Harry McWatters and his family, which runs several wineries, including the upcoming TIME Winery on Martin Street, crushed the first of McWatters’ 50th consecutive vintage, a first in the Canadian wine industry.

On top of that, the McWatters family showed off their winery, still under construction, to local dignitaries, including Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, Coun. Judy Sentes and MP Dan Albas.

Related: Five decades of making wines

In planning for 18 months, McWatters’ daughter Christa-Lee told a small crowd it felt good to finally flick the switch on some of the equipment in the winery.

“We wanted to do something that was different, so we had some people say, what about the Pen-Mar Theatre,” she told the crowd of about two dozen. “Well, first of all, no, that’s not going to work, second of all, it’s not for sale. And then we had a little look at it, and it is and it was.”

Being the first urban winery in the South Okanagan, Jakubeit said the city saw the new TIME Winery location as fitting with their vision for downtown.

“It’s really going to add to downtown, and again be a catalyst to this part of downtown, getting some investments and developments,” Jakubeit said. “We think we’re investing in Penticton continuing in the wine industry and really making Penticton that wine hub.”

 

Three generations of vintners gather at a box of the first grapes to be crushed in the upcoming TIME Winery Penticton location’s inaugural crush. From left to right: Harry, Christa-Lee, Connor, Brendan and Darren McWatters. Dustin Godfrey/Western News