ENCORE: the latest news
Meet our team, learn about our business, and see behind the scenes as we continue our wine journey in beautiful British Columbia. We believe wine is about time and place; but it's our people, and their stories that make our time fun and this place interesting.
[Vancouver, BC] The Vancouver International Wine Festival's coveted Spirited Industry Professional (SIP) Award has been presented to Harry McWatters, CEO and president of ENCORE Vineyards Ltd.
Hailed as the Okanagan Valley's great wine pioneer, McWatters, a 50-vintage veteran of the wine industry, has been credited with building BC's wine industry into the award-winning, internationally-recognized business it is today.
The annual SIP Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia.
McWatters was recognized in front of a crowd of 340 peers in the Canadian wine industry at Celebrating Excellence: the 14th annual Awards Lunch on February 17.
Upon learning he won the award, a nearly speechless McWatters said, "I'm humbled, I'm honoured, and very proud of all you producers and merchants for making Canada a great wine producing country."
"Harry McWatters is, quite simply, the Robert Mondavi of British Columba wines," said Tony Aspler, Canadian wine journalist and wine competition judge.
"Harry has been instrumental in building the BC wine industry into something that is producing serious, quality wines that are growing in reputation around the world," notes Rhys Pender MW, wine educator, judge, writer and winemaker.
Harry began his investment in the BC wine industry in 1968 as a sales manager at Casabello Wines in Vancouver. He moved to the Okanagan in 1977 with his family, founding Sumac Ridge Estate Winery in 1980 and See Ya Later Ranch in 1995. Numerous firsts followed before the two wineries were sold to Vincor (now Constellation Brands) in 2000.
This year, McWatters celebrates 50 vintages in the BC wine industry, and showing no signs of slowing down, plans to open the new TIME Winery facility in a revitalized historic building in downtown Penticton this year, which will produce wines under the TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection labels.
Read more about Harry McWatters HERE.
For images or to interview Harry McWatters, please contact Sujinder Juneja at 604-367-6745.
Former PenMar Theatre complex to take on new life as a winery & hospitality centre
[Penticton, BC] - ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., home to TIME Winery, McWatters Collection, and Evolve Cellars, announces it has purchased the former PenMar Theatre Complex (361 Martin Street, Penticton) and will be transforming it into an urban winery, the first in the South Okanagan.
The subjects have now been removed on the sale, paving the way for ENCORE to begin modifications on the building that will see it ready for wine production of the 2016 vintage.
The restored building will be home to a brand-new winery production facility, including a crush pad, barrel cellar, custom fermentation hall, lab, warehouse, and administrative offices. When open to the public, the visitor experience will include a tasting bar, a small plates lounge, a 40-seat outdoor patio, as well as a retail wine shop.
An onsite commercial kitchen will give the winery the ability to host public and private events. Banquet facilities and other offerings are being planned for the future.
In keeping with the community's desire to showcase local performing arts, ENCORE will maintain one of the theatres as a 75-seat movie, performance and event space for concerts, private functions and non-profit uses. Ultimately, this destination, multi-purpose winery, bistro and theatre will help to attract visitors to the area and assist with the revitalization of the downtown.
The PenMar is a historic site with a long history of arts and culture. Built in 1956, the theatre closed in 2012 after its then-current owners, Landmark Cinemas, moved into a multiplex location. An organization named the PenMar Community Arts Society attempted to raise enough money to restore the building, but was not able to raise the funds required. ENCORE Vineyards, who coincidentally contributed to the society's fundraising efforts, is pleased to be able to help preserve this historic building and contribute to the community.
Harry McWatters, president and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards says, "We are excited to share the next chapter of ENCORE Vineyards with our Penticton neighbours. Our aim is to create a downtown destination that the South Okanagan can be proud of, while preserving the legacy of this vibrant cultural landmark."
About Encore Vineyards:
ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., a progressive Okanagan-based company, is home to a number of wine brands, providing a host of wines and hospitality service. The ENCORE team has developed an unparalleled opportunity for investors to participate in the growth of its existing enterprise, substantial brand expansion, and premium brand acquisition opportunities. By consolidating certain operating, management, and marketing and sales strategies of multiple wineries, ENCORE will improve financial returns in what has the potential to be a high-margin industry. Learn more at encorevineyards.ca.
ENCORE has amassed an impressive team, poised to help define the next generation of Okanagan winemaking via its production of premium wines in the Okanagan Valley. The company is known for its labels including TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection. In 2016, ENCORE Vineyards expands, with new projects that further celebrate the spirit of the South Okanagan.
The ENCORE team is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 48-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond is the ENCORE marketing director, offering lifelong wine industry insight. Lawrence Buhler is ENCORE’s director of winemaking, who has experienced more than 15 vintages in Ontario, British Columbia, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. He will oversee the company’s growing portfolio of premium British Columbia wines.
Every action you take has intention – to accomplish, create and grow. Like us, you strive to Evolve. Do you have a passion for wine, enthusiasm for great customer service and a positive outgoing personality?
We are seeking fun, passionate, hard working team members to work with us in our tasting room for full and part time/seasonal positions; team players who are able to work a flexible schedule that includes weekends and holidays.
- Must be 19 years of age, and have Serving It Right certificate
- Passion for wine and customer service
- Outgoing, friendly, and welcoming personality
- Knowledge of POS Systems and experience in hospitality/wine industry is an asset
- Must be able to lift 40lbs and stand for extended periods of time
- Open and close tasting room
- Greet all visitors to the tasting room and provide them with our Evolve Cellars experience
- Assist customers with purchases, wine club sign ups, and shipping
- Lead group tastings and tours
- General wine shop duties
How to Apply
Please e-mail resume to Christa-Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ENCORE Vineyards Announces Sale of Okanagan Assets
ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., home to TIME Estate Winery, McWatters Collection and Evolve Cellars, has reached an agreement with a buyer to sell a portion of its assets in Oliver, British Columbia. The sale has been approved by ENCORE’s board of directors.
This private transaction has been under negotiation for several months, and was completed on April 1, 2016. The transaction includes a 60‐acre vineyard on the Black Sage Bench and a building currently under construction.
“ENCORE Vineyards Ltd. retains all of its other assets, which includes its existing brand names, TIME Estate Winery, McWatters Collection as well as Evolve Cellars winery in Summerland, along with all inventory and winery equipment”, said ENCORE President and Chief Executive Officer Harry McWatters.
“The sale of this vineyard advances our strategy by unlocking the land value in our portfolio, and allows us to focus on the next exciting phase of ENCORE Vineyards. After closing, ENCORE will have eliminated bank debt, and own all equipment and inventory. We will continue to sell our TIME, McWatters Collection, and Evolve wines, and our winemaker, Lawrence Buhler, will continue to make wines that maintain the great reputation and garnered acclaim these wines enjoy.”
ENCORE Vineyards will share the exciting next steps in the coming weeks.
This financial transaction was subject to normal closing procedures and closed on April 1, 2016, setting the stage for the next business phase for this progressive wine group.
About ENCORE Vineyards Ltd.
ENCORE Vineyards is led by President and Chief Executive Officer Harry McWatters, a 48‐year veteran of the thriving British Columbia wine industry. In 1980 he founded Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, the first estate winery in the province; subsequently, he founded See Ya Later Ranch Estate Winery in 1995.
When Harry sold both operations to Vincor Canada in 2000, he remained President of Sumac Ridge and See Ya Later Ranch and was a Vice President of Vincor Canada until he “retired” in 2008. Since then, Harry and associates have formed ENCORE Vineyards and launched TIME Estate Winery, the McWatters Collection and developed Evolve Cellars.
For more information about Encore Vineyards Ltd, contact:
Harry McWatters, President and Chief Executive Officer
7 -7519 Prairie Valley Road,
Summerland, BC, V0H 1Z4,
Asset Sale - Frequently Asked Questions
How much did the new owner pay for the vineyard?
ENCORE is bound by a confidentiality agreement and is unable to reveal the purchase price.
There have been rumors that ENCORE was in financial trouble due to the inconsistency of construction of the building on the vineyard property in Oliver. Was this true?
No. ENCORE has always had a strong equity position, which has allowed it to produce wines of increasing quality for many years. The company debt load was always very small in proportion to its equity and assets. The length of the time of negotiations altered the schedule of construction, which kept pace with the negotiation process.
What will happen to the existing brands, including TIME Estate Winery, McWatters Collection, and Evolve Cellars?
The existing brands will continue to grow and develop with an even greater investment on quality. Additionally, this transaction will allow the group to seek new opportunities and investments in the wine industry.
Why did Harry sell the vineyard that he planted in 1992?
The offer for purchase of the vineyard created an opportunity for Harry to grow his existing brands and develop ENCORE’s business activities within the wine industry. ENCORE will continue to look at other new investments and acquisitions moving forward.
What is next for Harry McWatters and ENCORE Vineyards?
Stay tuned. Exciting plans for Harry McWatters and ENCORE will be revealed in the coming weeks.
What will happen to the winemaker, vineyard manager and other winery staff?
• ENCORE’s director of winemaking, Lawrence Buhler, will continue to create wines of increasing quality.
• The current manager of the Oliver vineyard, Richard ‘Dick’ Cleave, is expected to work with the new owners.
• Current employee contracts at the vineyard in Oliver ceased on March 31, 2016. The new owners will continue to employ all of the vineyard staff going forward. There will be no change to any hourly or salaried staff at Evolve Cellars in Summerland.
• ENCORE’s board of directors, management team and administrative staff will remain unchanged.
• Seasonal employees will continue to be secured as needed.
What will be the grape source for ENCORE’s brands going forward?
Due to ever-changing consumer demands, ENCORE Vineyards now has the flexibility to contract and purchase fruit to meet the needs of the wine- loving public. It is noted that ENCORE has already been in the process of securing fruit from multiple sources. ENCORE has already negotiated access to select fruit at its former vineyard in Oliver.
What will happen to those who invested in ENCORE Vineyards and the new winery facility? Will they receive their expected dividends?
Their investment is still secure and all shareholder agreements will be honoured. This transaction puts preferred shareholders in a better position to realize future dividends.
Where will the wines be made?
Stay tuned – an announcement will be made about the new address. The wines will continue to be made by director of winemaking, Lawrence Buhler, under the direction of Harry McWatters, ensuring consistent and high-quality wines for any occasion.