COMMUNITY MOURNS QUINTA FERREIRA ESTATE WINERY CO-FOUNDER MARIA FERREIRA
By Roslyne Buchanan.
Family, friends, colleagues and admirers overflowed the Oliver Catholic Church in honour of Maria Ferreira who died suddenly, December 19, at the Penticton Regional Hospital.
Her beautiful smile is implanted in my memory of her. I will always remember how Maria and her family warmly greeted me and all visitors to Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery as if we were part of the family.
Maria Alice Tomé Ferreira is survived by her husband John Alentejano Ferreira, daughters: Christina Tomé Ferreira and Nicole Tomé Ferreira, son Michael Jonathan Tomé Ferreira and grand-daughter Maya Ferreira Evangelou. As well, sisters: Carmen Tomé and Elizabeth Tomé Vokey. Father-in-law Antonio Braz Ferreira, Mother-in-law Elvira Gomes Alentejano Ferreira, Sisters-in-law: Irene Pavao and Delphina Ferreira and brothers-in-law Nelson Vokey, Frank Pavao, and Wayne Belleville, seven nieces and nephews and four great nieces. Parents Antonio and Anita Tomé predeceased her.
Born in Fundao, Portugal, she immigrated with her family to Canada in 1964. She helped her parents in the orchard and worked at Collins Department Store. She married John Ferreira and graduated from the Southern Okanagan Secondary School in 1974. She went to work at Oliver Credit Union at age 19, spending nearly 40 years working with Interior Savings Credit Union.
Maria was known for her great business sense and together with her husband owned and operated an orchard and packing house for more than 20 years. In the last 20 years, they actualized their dream of owning a winery as they transformed their property into vineyard and Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery.
Daughter Christina points out, “My parents always dreamed of owning a winery and it is truly a family affair. My mom did so much for everyone. She was definitely also the glue that kept our family together.”
She was active in all aspects of the family business whether working in the tasting room or helping her son Michael, who is the winemaker, on the crush pad.
Maria served on the board of directors for the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association and was a member of the Oliver Chamber of Commerce. With a love for travel, she attended many winery events. Socializing with family and friends was central to her life. To her, nothing was more important than her roles as a loving and caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-in-law and friend to many.
At any of Quinta Ferreira’s functions or when she poured Quinta Ferreira’s wines at other events, she always embraced the joy of being surrounded by others.
She engaged with the farming and Portuguese community and had a passion to share some of the traditional cuisine. The Quinta Ferreira events Bifanas, Wine and Live Music; Paella, Wine and Live Music; and Harvest Dinner have steadily increased in popularity, selling out earlier and earlier.
Christina notes, “With Mom gone, there is a huge gap, however, we plan to move forward. We want to honour her by building those relationships, continuing that friendly customer service, and bringing that love and passion to our business.”
There’s no doubt Maria will be missed by all fortunate enough to have met her.
Featured photo: Maria Ferreira at the Quinta Ferreira Annual Harvest Dinner. Photo courtesy of Quinta Ferreira.