Senator Ross Fitzpatrick Honored for Contribution to the BC Wine Industry
KELOWNA, BC - CedarCreek Estate Winery founder, Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, was honoured in Kelowna Tuesday with the BC Wine Institute's BC Wine Industry Recognition Award.
"The Senator exemplifies the intent of the award, which was created to recognize those who have helped to develop the wine industry in our province," says BC Wine Institute chair, Josie Tyabji who presented Fitzpatrick with the award at the Canadian Wine Industry dinner at CedarCreek Estate Winery. "His efforts and leadership have helped shape the industry as we know it today."
The BC Wine Industry Recognition Award honours an individual, business or organization for support of the BC Wine Industry and BC VQA wine through media, research, policy, regulation, education, advocacy or other means significantly contributing to the overall strength and long-term viability of the industry.
The 81-year-old Okanagan native has deep roots in the British Columbia agricultural industry - he was born to an agricultural pioneering family and worked with BC Tree Fruits and SunRype in his early career.
A strong environmental advocate with a focus on green development, Fitzpatrick spent the bulk of his business life working with and developing companies most notably in aerospace, oil and gas, and mining in Canada and the US.
In 1986, he returned to his hometown to start CedarCreek Estate Winery. He became a pioneer in the planting of vinifera grape varieties to produce premium quality wine. Today, almost all wine grapes grown in the province are vinifera varieties.
Placing a focus on growing and making quality wine has garnered CedarCreek many awards throughout the last 28 years, including being named the Canadian Winery of the Year twice.
This year, the Fitzpatrick family sold CedarCreek but was not prepared to completely leave the industry. The family-owned Greata Ranch Reserve Winery, located between Summerland and Peachland, has been expanded to focus on producing high-quality Okanagan sparkling wine.
The BC Wine Industry Recognition Award is among the many honours Fitzpatrick has received in his successful business and political career. The senator has also been recognized with the Order of British Columbia 2009, the Canadian Confederation Medal 1992 and he was the recipient of Honorary Doctorates of Law from Okanagan University College in 2003 and UBC Okanagan in 2012.
The BC Wine Industry Recognition Award's 2013 recipients were MPs Dan Albas and Ron Cannan for their efforts to modernize the Canadian wine laws through Bill C-311.
The BC Wine Industry Recognition Award presentation was held in concert with the Canadian Vintners Association Awards, which recognized MP Dean Allison with the 2014 Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction.
BC Wine Institute members and industry pioneers George & Trudy Heiss of Gray Monk Estate Winery were also recognized by the CVA with the 2014 Canadian Wine Industry Champion Award.
About the BC Wine Institute (BCWI)
Since 1990, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking BC's wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing quality wine tourism experiences.
Representing 134 member wineries throughout the province, the BCWI supports and markets the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA), which gives consumers assurance they are buying a wine that is from 100% BC grapes. BCWI membership represents 95 percent of total grape wine sales and 94% of total BC VQA wine sales in British Columbia.
The BCWI also markets the wine regions of BC; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC's wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of its members.