Howard Soon is the Master Winemaker at Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley (Vanessa Vineyard)

Howard Soon is the Master Winemaker at Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley (Vanessa Vineyard)

Okanagan winemaker wins award for dedication to the craft

Howard Soon has been in the wine industry for over 40 years

The Okanagan is known across B.C. as the place to go for the best wines, and a local winemaker has further solidified that claim.

Howard Soon of Cawston’s Vanessa Vineyard has been named 2021’s Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award winner as the winemaker that exemplifies leadership, mentorship and dedication to winemaking in Canada.

Named after late legendary Canadian winemaker Karl Kaiser, who himself was a visionary in viticulture and pioneer of modern Canadian winemaking, the award was created in 2018.

Soon has been in the wine industry for over four decades, earning many awards and accolades in his time, including being the first winemaker named to the Order of Canada.

“Howard was specifically selected to lead Vanessa Vineyard as our master winemaker because of his expertise, vast experience and passion to elevate others through mentorship,” owner Suki Sekhon said.

Soon said he never expected to get the reward, but that he’s grateful for the recognition it brings with it.

“I’m quite humble about it all I think, I don’t like to boast,” Soon said about the reward.

He added that he’s always aimed to be the best that he could and that the credit belongs with the growers, “They’re the ones on the front line; they grow the grapes that make the wine.”

Soon believes that winemasters are similar to chefs and that knowing what to do with the grapes and what does and doesn’t work is a craft.

Vanessa Vineyard wines are available all throughout southwestern B.C., with over 25 locations in the Lower Mainland, Okanagan and Vancouver Island.

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