Our Winemaker

Sandy Leier grew up in wine country. Though born in Vancouver, she was raised in Kelowna and continues to call the sunny Okanagan home. Her lifelong interest in science led her to Okanagan University College, where she completed a degree in Chemistry and worked as a lab demonstrator and researcher specializing in the extraction of medicinal ingredients from plants. Sandy was first inspired while enjoying wine and sharing stories with a friend who worked as an assistant to Howard Soon, Sandhill Winemaker. She was introduced to Howard and found herself wanting to know more about the art of how truly great wines are made.

In 2006, Sandy joined the winemaking team at Andrew Peller Limited. She worked as an assistant for an intensive year learning the key aspects of the winemaking process, which only further sparked her interest and led to her eventual role as a winemaker for the non-VQA portfolio of wines. During this time, Sandy has gained invaluable experience working with wines from all over the world. In her free time, Sandy continued to pursue her personal education in wine, completing Howard Soon's Wine Appreciation course and passing the WSET Intermediate Certificate - an internationally-recognized wine and spirits course - with distinction.

Today, Sandy brings her talent and passion to Calona Vineyards. With respect and a keen appreciation for the history behind the Calona Vineyards label, she is excited to be working with the wonderful growers of the Okanagan Valley and takes great pride in her role of bringing wine to life, from vineyard to bottle in the place she calls home.

A devoted mother of two, Sandy lives a life of active pursuits and enjoys family time camping, cycling and snowboarding with her kids. She loves to cook, and can also be found dancing or practicing yoga in those rare moments when spare time presents itself.