The Gebert brothers moved from Switzerland to Kelowna and bought St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Winery over 30 years ago. Andy was only 21 at the time, Leo just a few years older.
Since then, the brothers, along with their wives as well as their sisters, Barb and Susanne, have strived to keep a healthy balance of work and fun.
That balance has appeared to pay off, as the winery was awarded their second Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in British Columbia Wines on September 7.
Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, along with a group of dignitaries from several countries, visited the winery on Lakeshore Road Wednesday afternoon (Sept 7) and presented the award for St. Hubertus’s 2014 Riesling.
The awards were given to just 12 B.C. wineries, chosen from 504 wines submitted by 135 wineries. All winners this year were from the Okanagan.
St. Hubertus won their first Lieutenant Governor’s Award, also for a Riesling, in 2009.
Andy Gebert says they have some of the oldest Riesling vines in the Okanagan dating back to the 1970s.
“It is definitely one of the wines we do very, very well,” Andy said. “It’s the right place, the Lakeshore Road wineries … the four of us, we’re all very focused on rieslings and pinot noirs.”
When the brothers first bought the place in the 1980s, Andy says the property was “nothing special,” and, in hindsight, they really didn’t know what they were getting into.
“It was the right time and right place, and probably not knowing how difficult it is to do … sometimes ignorance is total bliss,” Andy said. “And you look back and you’re like, that was lucky.”
With the two couples living on the property, Andy says it allows them to take trips all over the world, and still know the business is in good hands.
“We travel all over the world, like we backpacked to India or to all these places, so a little bit of adventure spirit is still there,” Andy said. “We could be a much flashier winery here, but you’ve got to do your own thing too.”