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Spirited Industry Professional Award

The annual Spirited Industry Professional Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. The Festival solicits nominations from across the province to recognize Spirited Industry Professionals who have made a significant and indisputable impact upon British Columbia wine culture.

2015 Spirited Industry Professional Award Winner

Howard Soon

Howard Soon, a born and raised Vancouverite, has been a trailblazer in the wine business for 35 years beginning with Andres Wines, then Calona Vineyards, and for the last several years as head winemaker at Sandhill Estate Wines. An enthusiastic mentor to other winemakers, Howard has also selflessly shared countless nuggets of knowledge with others in the industry. He is one of a select group of certified wine educators in Canada and has served on the panels of several major wine competitions in Canada and the US. Howard has an impressive series of firsts to his credit: the first BC winemaker to release a series of single vineyard designated wines, the first to produce a Super Tuscan blend and the first to receive Red, White and Winery of the Year at the Canadian Wine Awards in 2009.

2014 SIP Award

Mark co-founded the Vancouver Wine Academy and has demonstrated his commitment to the local scene by collaborating with the BC Wine Institute to create a Train the Trainer module for educating restaurant and wine industry staff. He was also the BC representative for the creation of a Canadian National Standard for Wine Service. He is currently the Global Education Director for Wine Australia.

2013 SIP Award

Sid Cross is a wine and food writer and educator, honorary president of the International Wine & Food Society, an officer of France’s Ordre du Merite Agricole, wines committee chair of the International Wine and Food Society in London, England; and the only Canadian to be honoured as a Membre d’Honneur of the L’Academie du vin de Bordeaux.

2012 SIP Award

Richard Carras, Vice President Western Canada of Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants, has been a leader in the wine industry for over 25 years. Inducted into the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association Hall of Fame in 2011, Carras is also a past president of the International Society of Wine Educators.

2011 SIP Award

Jurgen Gothe (1944-2015) saw his wine and food columns run in over 100 publications, as well as a long radio career that included his much-loved tenure as the host of CBC's DiscDrive. He will be deeply missed.

2010 SIP Award

Anthony Gismondi has been writing on wine since 1983 and has been the weekly wine columnist for the Vancouver Sun since 1989. He is also co-host of the weekly Best of Food & Wine show on AM650 in Vancouver and the man behind


2009 SIP Award

John Schreiner is Western Canada's most prolific wine writer and is the authority on BC wines. Not only does he write, taste and judge wines, he also makes wine. 

2008 SIP Award

Christine Coletta of Coletta Consultants, providing marketing, strategic and special event services to the food and wine industries since 1986 and winner of the 2008 Spirited Individual Professional Award. 

2007 SIP Award

David Scholefield, wine speaker, teacher and international wine competition judge, winner of the Second Annual 2007 Spirited Industry Professional Award.

2006 SIP Award

SIP award winner Darryl Weinbren

Darryl Weinbren, a partner at Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants and a co-founder of VanWineFest, displays the inaugural Spirited Industry Professional Award presented to him at the 2006 Festival.

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