(above, left to right) Harry, Darrien, and Christa-Lee McWatters. Photo credit: Jennifer Schell
January 12, 2022
[Penticton, BC] TIME Family of Wines is excited to start the new year with some major recognition! Team members and sisters Christa-Lee and Darrien McWatters have been chosen among Wine Industry Network’s (WIN) Most Inspiring People of 2021. Read the article online here.
WIN annually selects 10 industry individuals that exemplify leadership, innovation, and inspiration to win this award. In 2021, WIN received more than 100 submissions, with the editorial team narrowing it down to the 10 finalists that sincerely impacted North American wine culture. For the first time ever, sisters cracked the top 10!
Christa-Lee and Darrien McWatters, general manager and operations manager respectively at TIME Family of Wines, are well known in British Columbia, and now the wine world will know their names. This award validates what many people in the BC wine industry have already noticed, and proves that the McWatters sisters are celebrating the work first started by their father, the late Harry McWatters.
Kathleen Wilcox of Wine Industry Network notes “Christa-Lee and Darrien McWatters manage to honour their family’s incredible history and legacy in Canadian wine, while fearlessly pushing their brands into the future.”
WIA’s Most Inspiring People
As Wilcox explains in the recognition article, the sisters received this accolade for their ability to be adaptable and innovative, while paving the way for others.
According to a post from WIN, “Darrien and Christa-Lee have remained steadfast in their leadership positions despite the evolution of the industry, their father’s death, and the pandemic—all of which ultimately transformed what they saw as their—and the brand’s—trajectory.”
Throughout the pandemic, the two worked to sell the winery to new owners Ron and Shelley Mayert, and update the winery with new brands, fresh new packaging, and plan for expansions (including the addition of a second location at the District Wine Village in Oliver, BC and the purchase of a vineyard near Osoyoos).
The WIN post adds “change, for the McWatters, is a healthy and welcome part of life. Darrien’s journey, and her family’s reaction to her personal metamorphosis as she completed her gender transition in 2021, is a powerful demonstration of the reach and power of their commitment to carefully considered advancement.” Like her father, Darrien has been a true trailblazer and role model to those around her.
“Darrien and Christa-Lee take their prominent position as role models in the world of wine seriously, and both are keen to speak openly about the manner in which family, business, and the reality of modern life can overlap.”