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Quails' Gate Estate Winery founder passes away

Dick Stewart overlooking his legacy of land at Quails' Gate Estate Winery in West Kelowna.
Dick Stewart overlooking his legacy of land at Quails' Gate Estate Winery in West Kelowna.
Image Credit: FB/Quails'Gate

One of the Okanagan’s most revered pioneers in agriculture and wine passed away May 12 at the age of 94.

Dick Stewart was a beloved member of the community and a true local. Born at Kelowna General Hospital in 1926, he grew up with his three siblings on the corner of Richter and Harvey Avenue. His father Richard Sr., known as “Poppa Dick”, was an Irish immigrant that successfully built the Stewart Brother’s Nursery business where Dick would later spend many years.

After graduating from high school, Dick attended UBC in Vancouver and graduated with a double major in Agriculture and Commerce and then joined the family business. In 1956 he married the love of his life Rosemary and purchased the property on Boucherie Road now known as Quails’ Gate Estate Winery. There he would become a trailblazer in the wine industry, experimenting with planting grapes. He envisioned a winery here would eventually open in 1989. This vineyard project was one of the first to prove the great terroir offered in the Okanagan for winemaking. Quails’ Gate Estate Winery continues to be run by the family with great pride as a legacy of their father’s name.

As his obituary notes, “Never afraid of new ideas, Dick believed in putting his nose to the ‘grindstone and his shoulder to the wheel’. He was intensely proud that all his children became a part of making the winery successful. He loved to wander the vineyards, wineshop and offices at Quails’ Gate visiting with guests and he fondly referred to the staff at Quails’ Gate as his extended family.”

Dick was a loving family man and a proud member of his community to which he heavily contributed over the years in many different roles. Dick and Rosemary raised four children Ben, Cynthia, Andrea and Tony, who have currently grown their clan into 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Dick Stewart was known for his heart of gold and his memory will be treasured for all time.

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