Howard Soon and Stephanie Leinemann have turned around the fortunes of Peller Estates Okanagan, Tim Pawsey photo

One of our few regrets, we never seem to have enough time to get the photograph we really want. Images are becoming even more crucial these days, especially in the more visually driven on-line world.

We like this shot of winemakers Howard Soon and Stephanie Leinemann for any number of reasons, none the least of which is that Howard came to Vancouver for the first winemakers dinner we ever attended (at now vanished Raintree, longer ago than both of us would probably care to remember). This photo was taken following a lunch to mark half a century since Andrew Peller established his Similkameen Vineyard and (now closed) Port Moody winery, and a storied history, best summarized in the press release that details a path that “has traced an enological arc from the sweet bubble of the 1960s, pseudo-European blends of the 1970s, and hybrid grapes of the 1980s, to the refined and elegant terroir-driven wines of today.”

The unique thing about Howard is he’s pretty humble for a guy who’s achieved so much—and turned around at least a couple of floundering wineries in the process.

Stephanie Leinemann was one of his protégés hired when he took over Andrew Peller’s western Canadian winemaking operations, following the company’s 2005 purchase of Calona Vineyards and Cascadia Brands.

These days Soon is stepping back as Leinemann increasingly hits her stride: Peller Okanagan is racking up some impressive medal wins, including most recently, a double gold (for best in class) at the All Canadian Wine Awards, for its 2008 Family Reserve Cab. Sauv., which contains 70 percent Similkameen fruit.

From our North Shore News story:

Leinemann “first turned her attention to one of her favourite grapes, Riesling, and scored a major hit by winning a BC Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Private Reserve ’08. You can still find it at BCLS ($15.99), and it’s developing nicely. The 2010  PR Dry Riesling, which brims with vibrant citrus and apple notes plus a touch of minerality, just scooped gold at Los Angeles, while the plush, mocha black fruit toned Private Reserve 08 Cab Sauv (which contains 70 percent Similkameen Rocky Ridge fruit) won an impressive double gold (best of category) at the 2011 All Canadian championships. (BCLS $19.99).

We’d happily tuck the gooseberry-citrus toned 2010 Family Series Sauv Blanc into our fridge as a respectable summer sipper (BCLS $12.99), and pick up a bottle of under-rated Private Reserve Pinot Noir 09 (well balanced, gently earthy with juicy acidity and easy tannins) to enjoy with barbecued salmon. (BCLS $18.99).”

You can read more in the North Shore News. Too bad, but there wasn’t room for the image.

In the meantime, it would be really cool if Peller Estates Niagara started to give its Okanagan division a little more of the on-line recognition it deserves