Sandhill Wines today announced the appointment of Sandy Leier as lead winemaker, effective June 14. A graduate of UBC Okanagan, Leier has been a winemaker for over 12 years, most recently for Calona Vineyards and Wayne Gretzky Okanagan Wines.
“Sandy brings extensive experience and passion to Sandhill’s award-winning portfolio,” said Craig McDonald, vice president of winemaking of Andrew Peller Ltd. “We are beyond excited to see Sandy usher Sandhill into a new era and carry forward its legacy as truly distinct, terroir-driven wine.”
Leier has previously served as lead winemaker for Calona Vineyards and Wayne Gretzky Okanagan Wines between 2006 – 2016. Her wines have received a number of awards and accolades, among them the Lieutenant Governor’s award in 2013 for the 2011 Calona Vineyards Artist Series Pinot Noir, Gold at the Syrah du Monde for the 2014 Wayne Gretzky Signature Shiraz and Gold/Best in Class at All Canadian Wine Championships for the 2016 Wayne Gretzky Signature Riesling. Throughout her career, Leier has traveled to wine regions in Australia, France, Chile and Argentina to study winemaking and viticultural processes and explore winemaking styles.
“I love exploring the unique properties and diverse microclimates of each of Sandhill’s vineyard sites and celebrating those differences in the wines. The single vineyard and single block wines in the Small Lots portfolio give us this window into the terroir of a range of excellent growing sites within our region,” explains Leier. “I am truly honoured to be part of Sandhill’s inimitable legacy as a pioneering Okanagan winery.”
A proud Okanagan local, Leier has worked closely alongside the winemaking team at Sandhill, developing trusted relationships with the growers behind each of the brand’s five distinct Okanagan and Similkameen Valley vineyard sites, a key component of Sandhill’s estate and Small Lots program.
Leier lives and breathes the quintessential Okanagan lifestyle with her family. Her favourite pastimes include biking and hiking the valley’s extensive trail systems and snowboarding at Big White with her family. Leier will be at Sandhill’s Urban Winery (1125 Richter Street) on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the annual summer open house for complimentary wine tastings.