Jun 11, 2013
It's About TIME, People & Place
If you know anything about B.C. wine, you'll have heard the name, Harry McWatters.
He has a lengthy and far reaching relationship with the wine industry that stretches far beyond what people know him best for, Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, which he established in 1980.
McWatters (right) was the first to use the term Meritage on a wine label (a wine that combines the best of the varieties found in the wines of Bordeaux) in Canada and his name is often tied to the term. The term Meritage is said to have been coined by Napa Valley's, Robert Mondavi.
In addition, Mcwatters was key in founding the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) and is a founding chair of the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI).
Here is a list of McWatters' acolades and achievements
To celebrate his 46th vintage, McWatters recently launched TIME Estate Winery. An estate, which will be built in the coveted Sundial Vineyard, near Oliver.
In 1992 for a mere couple grand per acre, McWatters and his partner at the time, Bob Wareham purchased a old fallow vineyard on Black Sage Road. The site, which was later to become known as Black Sage Vineyard (a name owned by Vincor, who purchased Sumac Estate Winery in 2000) raised a lot of eyebrows at the time. McWatters planted 115-acres that consisted of mostly Bordeaux varieties on the sandy, valley floor site.
Although some of the initial vineyard went with the sale of Sumac Ridge, McWatters retained a portion and renamed it the Sundial Vineyard - an apt tie in with his new winery project.
The price of land in the area has increased beyond anyone's wildest imaginings and it unarguably produces some of Canada's best wines. British Columbia's most respected viticulturist, Dick Cleave has been with the project from the beginning. Like McWatters, Cleave still believes, twenty years later that it is he ideal place for red Bordeaux varieties.
McWatters knows it's time.
He wants to leave a legacy, something that will stand when he is no longer with us, something that his daughter and son can carry on.
So, TIME Estate Winery is about to break ground on the Sundial Vineyard and it is expected to be ready for the 2014 crush.
There has been a lot of thought put into the design.
Like most modern wineries these days, it will be gravity flow. It will have a capacity for 30,000 cases (with the possibility of expansion), an industrial kitchen (for events), some private suites, a lap pool and a Champagne cave.
On paper it looks to be a stunning design with an elegant flowing shape that will be seen from many kilometers away although goal is to not detract from the surrounding landscape.
Last week, Harry McWatters launched the news of Time Estate Winery and poured his three inaugural releases.
TIME Estate Winery 2012 White Meritage
Made from 79% Sauvignon Blanc and 21% Semillon (classic white Bordeaux varieties) it has fine spice and toast, kumquats and a hint of lanolin, snap pears and white fruits. There is a hint of caramel on the palate but is tangy and fresh with very good length. Chic. $25
TIME Estate Winery 2011 Chardonnay
Nice restraint, an elegant style with loads of citrus that is rounded out with sweet butter, spice and tropical fruits. There are toasted nuts, fine spice and citrus on the palate. More Old World in style but with nice roundness and plenty of juicy fruit.
TIME Estate Winery 2011 Red Meritage
Mostly Merlot with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. A mix of peppery fruits - raspberry, currents and dried cherries underscored with mocha. Wonderful balance of fruit, acid and structure, the tannins are plush and rounded and the finish trails tea leaf and peppery spices. $30
~ Daenna Van Mulligen