Harry McWatters

A celebration of life for Harry McWatters will take place Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

A celebration of life for B.C.’s late “godfather” of wine, Harry McWatters, will take place Friday, Aug. 9, at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

The event was announced on TIME Winery’s Facebook page, additionally thanking the community and media for its kind words and support.

“The outpouring on social media and in the press has been overwhelming and when the family is able, they will read all the messages,” the post said.

A previous post on Tuesday confirmed McWatters had died in his sleep. He was in his early 70s.

After beginning his 50-year-long career in the wine industry in Vancouver, McWatters arrived in the Okanagan, where he founded Sumac Ridge Winery in Summerland in 1980.

Through his career, McWatters was instrumental in helping found the B.C. Wine Institute, the B.C. Wine Information Society, the Okanagan Wine Festivals, VQA Canada and the B.C. Hospitality Foundation.

He later founded Evolve Wineries, TIME Winery and the McWatters Collection. TIME Winery is located in the old Penmar Theatre building in downtown Penticton.

For his efforts, McWatters was affectionately dubbed the “godfather” of B.C. wine.

The celebration of life will begin at 1:30 p.m., and McWatters’ family has asked that donations to be made to the B.C. Hospitality Foundation or the Alzheimer Society of Canada in McWatters’ honour.