April 30, 2019
You’ve likely heard about the folks who dreamed of one day owning a winery, and end up buying one on a whim, with little to no idea of what’s actually involved in winemaking. The Gehringer family’s story is the polar opposite of that tale.
When they were deciding where to buy grape growing land in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, the family didn’t just drive around with a realtor, they spent years researching the perfect terroir.
“My father and my uncle spent about seven years here doing a micro-climate study to determine where we actually wanted to locate the vineyard,” recalls Walter Gehringer, winemaker at Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery. “And there wasn't a lot of vineyards at that time; it was more orchards and tree fruits. So, there were not a lot of neighbours you could talk to about how the grapevines reacted. Eventually we finished that study, made a decision on the property and bought it in 1981. Our first vintage was 1985, which we released just in time for Expo 86 here in B.C.”
Gehringer himself initially explored working in the electronics field before realizing it wasn’t a good fit. His father had long made his own wine at home and while Gehringer wasn’t a big drinker, he was curious about the process and the chemistry behind it.
“I went to Germany for a year just to do an apprenticeship and just sort of try to solidify my decision that that would be my career choice. It gave me some structure to work as an apprentice and also to gather my thoughts, if you will. I enjoyed my first year there, so that was my career choice.”
Soon after, Gehringer joined his family in their new B.C. winery and he hasn’t looked back. For nearly 35 years, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery has been making wines, including the Ehrenfelser, Private Reserve Dry Riesling, available at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
“There’s so much I like about the wine business,” says Gehringer, “I like the whole process of getting here. How terroir influences your wine quality, how the grape varieties that you choose to grow on your site are such an important decision. Each growing season is a little bit different, so the challenge there is you have to treat your vineyard a little bit different to accommodate the strengths and weaknesses of that growing season. Those types of ongoing challenges all through the growing seasons keep me going. It's pretty impressive.”
Gehringer Brothers Classic Ehrenfelser
This fruit-driven wine has vibrant notes of apricot and honey, hints of almond, and a subtle tangy acidity. A touch of sweetness highlights flavours, however unique tannins lead to a dry impression.
This wine matches well with spiced foods, chicken, turkey, pasta and salads. Great as an aperitif as well.
Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Dry Riesling
Private Reserve Dry Riesling is a result of a specially selected site and exceptional vineyard care. The reduced crop load, and intensive leaf canopy management has yielded a positive difference in taste. This wine has a structured acidity and a rich fullness that contributes to its weight and body. Hints of peach, honey, apple, and kiwi are evident.
The dry style allows for many favourable food pairings including curries, Cajun, Asian, tomato dishes, pork, chicken, turkey, white fish and salads.
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