B.C. is home to some of the finest Riesling in the world. Do you know how it got here?
According to a Chilliwack-based sommelier, fans of the intense apple-driven white grape variety have a man named Walter Gehringer to thank.
Walter and his brother Gordon, of the Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery in Oliver, are B.C.-born, but learned their craft in Europe.
“While studying wine at Geisenheim University in Germany, Walter convinced one of the professors to come to the Okanagan Valley,” said Kim Murphy, a certified sommelier who is also the proprietor of the BC Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar in Chilliwack. “In 1977 they brought 27 of the top wine grape varietals and planted the original Johannesburg Riesling vine – one of the finest Riesling clones in the world.”
Murphy tells the story when she pours St. Hubertus Riesling at her wine bar. St. Hubertus and Gehringer Brothers — which she includes in her custom wine club boxes — were two of the original eight estate wineries in B.C.
“Back in the day they shared vineyard clones, knowledge, they shared everything,” she said.
Murphy should know, too. She has been in the wine industry for 30 years, working with the best winemakers in the Okanagan before moving to Chilliwack and opening her own BC VQA wine store. Now she’s moving into the restaurant industry, but BC Urban is more than a kitchen and bar.
“We’re an experience when you come,” she said. “During experiential varietal tastings, I tell the story of each wine that you taste.”
In addition to pairing B.C. wines with stories like the origin of Okanagan Riesling, the BC Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar also offers locally-sourced shared plates.
Chef Jeff Massey of Abbotsford’s Restaurant 62 consulted on the all-day-grazing-menu, which specializes in charcuterie and cheeses such as Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry smoked duck and Agassiz Farmhouse Natural Cheeses.
BC Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar is nestled at the foot of Chilliwack Mountain, located at 43869 Progress Way in Chilliwack. Walk-ins are welcome during opening hours, which are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday as well as 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday.
To inquire about booking the venue for a special event, call 604-392-2222.