Wine Culture Magazine

The BC Wine Institute has honoured Tim Pawsey with its 2020 Industry Recognition Award. Photo contributed

Here at Vitis, we couldn’t be more delighted to learn that one of our regular contributors, Tim Pawsey, has just been honoured with the 2021 Harry McWatters Founder’s Award, which each year acknowledges the pioneers of British Columbia wine.

The award is presented by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, part of the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards, which were announced on Oct. 7. (See below for more winners.)

Pawsey, who also blogs as @HiredBelly, was recognized for his outstanding work covering the B.C. wine and dining scene for 30 years and for his devotion to increasing the awareness and appreciation of B.C. wines

“I’m totally chuffed that I’ve been given this,” he says.

Originally called the Founders Award, it was created in 1985 by the late Harry McWatters, founding president of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society. After his death in 2019, the name of the award was changed and McWatters himself received it posthumously.

“It’s actually really poignant because [Harry’s daughter] Christa-Lee presented the award. Harry and I went back a long way, and what it means to me is more about that,” Pawsey says. “Today’s generation takes B.C. wines for granted, and that’s great. But there was a time when the last thing you wanted on your wine list was B.C. wine. Harry was the driving force that changed all that.

“He had a huge impact on how I chose to write about wine and making it an accessible, approachable thing. It’s the Harry award for me, and that’s important.”

Oh, and one more thing, Pawsey says: “I’m not retiring. I definitely intend to keep working.”

As for the winning wines, the competition, presented by Valley First, TricorBraun, ContainerWorld, and Argus Properties, was open to all licensed B.C. wineries including those that produce fruit wines and mead. Some 800 wines were entered, with 90 wineries taking home silver and gold medals; the top two per cent of those received platinum medals.

One wine—the Tantalus Vineyards 2018 Old Vines Riesling—was named the 2021 BC Lieutenant Governor’s Award Wine of the Year.

Here are the platinum winners:

Arrowleaf Cellars – 2019 Riesling
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – 2019 Syrah
CedarCreek Estate Winery – 2020 Platinum Home Block Rosé
Chain Reaction Winery – 2019 Tailwind Pinot Gris
ENRICO WINERY – 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris
Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Winery – 2018 Estate Riesling Icewine
Kismet Estate Winery – 2018 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Liquidity Wines – 2020 Rosé
Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine
Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Terroir Collection Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc
Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Perpetua
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2020 Original Vines Sémillon
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2018 Reserve Syrah
Silhouette Estate Winery – N/V Boyd Classic Cuveé
Silkscarf Winery – 2017 Syrah-Viognier
SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Saddle Block
SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Cuveé
SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Golden Retreat
Tantalus Vineyards – 2018 Chardonnay
Three Sisters Winery – 2019 Rebecca

The full list of winners is available at:

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