Harry McWatters is like the venerable Energizer Bunny…
Every time you think he might be done, he keeps on going. And it’s usually well ahead of the curve.
When Harry announced the sale of his unfinished winery and the Time Estate portion of the original Black Sage Vineyard, he said to “stay tuned” for next chapter. The other shoe, so to speak.
Today McWatters announced that his company, Encore Vineyards Ltd., has purchased the former PenMar Theatre Complex, in Downtown Penticton. The plan is to develop the property, under the Time brand, as the Okanagan’s first urban winery, with a host of wine related activities.
If the success of Vancouver’s Urban Winery is anything to go by, he’s on to a good thing. Urban Winery has grown to accommodate a host of activities, including a restaurant, craft brewery and function space, much in demand.
McWatters: Plenty of plans
McWatters purchased the Penticton complex after the PenMar Arts Society was unsuccessful in raising the necessary funds to sustain it. He plans to make good use of the 12000 sq. ft. structure which houses a number of small theatres, situated on 1/2 acre right in downtown Penticton, just three blocks from the lake shore.
“Right now we have plans for a fermentation cellar in nbr. 1 (the 26 ft. ceiling is ideal), and a barrel cellar in nbr 2. as well as finished goods in nbr 3. Number 4 we’ll keep as a theatre. The downtown community is very supportive of the arts society and we respect that,” says McWatters.
Harry also expects to have a crush pad in place “on the parking lot, in time for this year’s harvest.” It will be enclosed in due course.
“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.” (From the release)
Within easy walking distance are a distillery and two breweries. The Time project should become a firm anchor for the area. (And it wouldn’t surprise me to see spirits in the mix, too, at some point.)
Says McWatters: “This shines a new spotlight on Time as it raises the curtain on the next phase. It’s a great opportunity to push the reset button.”