(pictured: Legendary winemaker Howard Soon.)
There’s something special going on at Sandhill Winery, and you can taste it with every sip. From single vineyard to Small Lot series, Sandhill’s winemaking philosophy is all about allowing the true expression of the fruit to reveal itself in your glass. And if you’re lucky enough to encounter Sandhill’s winemaker Howard Soon on your visit to their downtown Kelowna tasting room and boutique, he’ll tell you all about it.
“It’s a bit like asking yourself, what is the grape saying to me? What does it need to do to make a great glass of wine,” grins Soon, a winemaker for more than 30 years, who notes, “It isn’t necessary to interfere with the expression of the vineyard itself.”
The answers to Soon’s questions are the foundation of Sandhill’s winemaking philosophy: single vineyard, credit to the grower, and showcase what each vineyard gives you with the wine.
Six different vineyards produce grapes exclusively for Sandhill: King Family, Phantom Creek, Osprey Ridge, Vanessa, Hidden Terrace, and Sandhill Estate. Soon, and two of their growers, Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, have worked on the grapes together from day one, earning top recognition for their efforts along the way including 10 Lieutenant Governor’s Awards, among others.
“In 2009 we won the Canadian Winery of the Year from Wine Access. We won Red Wine of the Year for Phantom Creek Syrah, and White wine of the Year for our Viognier from Osprey Ridge,” says Soon. “It’s very poetic, and what other winery has won all three awards? There isn’t one!”
Opening Soon – the Sandhill Store
Sandhill’s new 8,000 sq. ft. downtown tasting room opens in mid-May in time for the summer sipping season. Sample what Soon says will be some excellent summer sippers in their inventive tasting stations featuring a virtual visit to each of their six Vineyards.
“All of our 2012 reds are going to be killer! We’re just getting ready to bottle them and they’ll be out this summer. Our 2011 Pinot Blanc is good, and the Hidden Terrace Pinot Gris is lovely.”
Soon suggests comparing each of their two Sauvignon Blancs, two Pinot Gris and two Cab-Merlots to determine if you can distinguish the distinct nuances of each Vineyard represented.
Whether you taste Soon’s recommendations or any of their other award-winning wines, you’re sure to taste the difference a single vineyard can make.
~ Kim Cameron