British Columbia's Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo announced on May 13 that Harry McWatters would join 13 others to receive the Order of British Columbia, the province's highest award for outstanding achievement.
Summerland resident Harry McWatters is credited with building British Columbia's wine industry into the award-winning, internationally recognized industry it is today.
In 1979, McWatters founded British Columbia's first estate winery in Summerland. His contributions to the province include immeasurable contributions in creating jobs, bringing VQA wine to the world, attracting tourists and leading a shift in agricultural dynamics in the Okanagan Valley. He has won numerous awards as a winemaker and marketer, including "Wine of the Wine" in the All Canada Wine Competition and "Top Winery of the Year" from The Globe and Mail. His winery was also named Winery of the Year by Northwest Press Magazine, this past March from 500 wineries in BC, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. He is also a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and an honorary doctor of laws from Okanagan University College.
John Schreiner, a Vancouver-based journalist who has written many books on the BC wine industry, agrees that McWatters most recent reward is well-deserved, "I have come to know everybody in the British Columbia wine industry. No one has done more than Harry McWatters to build the foundation on which a world class industry is rising."
McWatters credits his staff and family for making it possible for him to wear several hats and support many causes outside his own business. "I get a great sense of pride working with like-minded people to help raise the bar for the Canadian wine industry," McWatters explains.
Other recipients of the Order of British Columbia for 2003 include visionaries in the fields of business, science and technology, the arts, humanities, sports and music.
An independent advisory council chaired by British Columbia Chief Justice Lance Finch chose this year's recipients. The awards will be presented in a ceremony at Government House on June 25. Since the Order of British Columbia was introduced in 1989, a total 189 people have received the honour.