Encore Purchases PenMar Theatre

A Summerland business has purchased the former PenMar Theatre Complex in Penticton and will convert it into an urban winery.

Encore Vineyards Ltd. made the announcement on Monday.

“We are excited to share the next chapter of Encore Vineyards with our Penticton neighbours,” said Harry McWatters, President and chief executive officer of Encore Vineyards. “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.”

The urban winery will be the first of its kind in the South Okanagan. While the concept is new to the area, urban wineries are in place in the United States.

Once renovations to the building are completed, the winery will include a crush pad, barrel cellar, custom fermentation hall, lab, warehouse and administrative offices.

It will also have a tasting bar, small plates lounge, outdoor patio and wine retail shop.

While three of the four theatres will be converted for wine production, the fourth will be maintained as a 75-seat theatre space.

The PenMar Theatre Complex was built in 1956. It closed in 2012 after its owners, Landmark Cinemas, moved into a multiplex location.

An organization had been working to raise money to restore the building, but was not able to raise the funding required.

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, marketing director of Encore said the winery will work with the existing structure.

“We want to maintain as much of the building as possible,” she said.

The renovation work will take place during the spring and summer. McWatters Bond said Encore hopes to have the urban winery ready for the harvest this year.

“We’re going to be moving quickly,” she said.

Encore Vineyards Inc. is known for labels including Time Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection.

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