The late Harry McWatters is a legend in the world of the British Columbia wine industry. 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. (Contributed)

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

World Cup skier and Penticton native, Brayden Kuroda, dies at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Okanagan rinks have mixed results as BC Seniors Curling finals begin

A total of 15 rinks are competing in Vernon for right to go to nationals in Manitoba

Penticton Vees to open first round of playoffs against West Kelowna

Penticton will come into the series as heavy favourites against the Warriors.

Town of Osoyoos voices support for proposed casino

Osoyoos council voted to submit a letter of support for a proposed casino on OIB land

Canadian Air Force joins Okanagan rescue of missing Kelowna snowmobiler

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

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Nanaimo man wins lotto, plans to buy $16,000 fridge

Curtis Wright a winner in Lotto 6/49 draw

Three protesters arrested after blocking driveway at premier’s home

Protestors claimed they would make a citizen’s arrest of the Premier, according to West Shore RCMP

Most Read