With great admiration and respect, Andrew Peller Limited, announced today that Sandhill Wines master winemaker Howard Soon, will be retiring effective Monday, July 24. Since joining Calona Wines in 1980, Howard is the longest serving winemaker in Canada, amassing an incredible 37 consecutive vintages.
Howard is a true pioneer of British Columbia’s wine industry and has been undeniably instrumental in its development and growth. He is revered not only for his award-winning wines, but for his collaborative relationships with growers and warm, endearing spirit.
“I can’t think of anyone who has had a more profound impact on the Canadian wine industry than Howard Soon. For those of us who know and believe that great wines are made in the vineyard, Howard has been our passionate crusader and proof point” shared John Peller of Andrew Peller Ltd. “More importantly, Howard’s profound kindness and caring nature has won the hearts of everyone who has ever worked with him. He is a genuine pioneer, artisan and friend and we are so grateful for the leadership he has given to everyone at Andrew Peller Ltd and the Okanagan wine industry.”
After studying Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia and Business Administration at the University of Manitoba, Howard moved to the Okanagan in 1980 to begin his winemaking career. In 1997, he was handed his most prestigious assignment – Sandhill. His determination to be at the leading edge of winemaking has proven fundamental to Sandhill’s exploratory single-vineyard and Small Lots Program, a true testament to Howard’s drive, innovative vision and pioneering spirit. Howard has also worked closely with many of the Okanagan’s best growers, creating not only incredible wines but life-long friendships.
In his over 20 year career with Sandhill, his non-interventionist approach has led to countless awards and accolades, including the Founder’s Award from the 1998 Okanagan Wine Festival, the first B.C. winemaker to receive a gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde in France and most notably a clean sweep at the 2009 Canadian Wine Awards with best red wine of show, best white wine of show and best Canadian winery. More recently, Howard received the highly-coveted 2015 Vancouver Wine Festival’s ‘Spirited Industry Professional and on June 9, the prestigious All Canadian Wine Championships Red Wine of the Year for his Soon Series Red.’
Howard is one of a select group of certified wine educators in Canada and is a much sought-after speaker. He is an experienced judge of wine and has served on the panels of several major wine competitions in Canada and the U.S. In his retirement, Howard plans on spending valuable time with his family, traveling and volunteer community work at home in his beloved Kelowna. For more information on Sandhill Wines, please visit www.sandhillwines.ca.