One of Soon’s many talents is the ability to form and sustain relationships with some of the Okanagan’s most respected, key growers. That is how Sandhill is able to make wine, vintage after vintage, from premium fruit, and to keep exploring the terroir of the region in search of optimal blocks for each variety. It is a process many European wineries have several centuries’ head start on, but Soon is by nature an optimist. “Don’t get me wrong, we have made a few mistakes,” he says. “But the overwhelming evidence is that this region can grow fruit to make wine at the head of its class on the international stage. We often are astounded at how good the wines are from very young vines, and it all points to a great future.”
Growing up a grocer’s son in Vancouver made Soon an astute observer. “I noticed how my dad treated each customer with respect,” he says. “It seemed they weren’t just coming for supplies, but to chat. That made a huge impression on me, and as I moved along in my career, I always made it a point to listen well, and to respect people.” In the ever and increasingly competitive Okanagan wine industry, where fruit might fetch $1,200 per ton one year and $1,800 the next, continuity and strong relationships are vital.