Former CBC Radio Host Jurgen Gothe Dead at 70


courtesy Charlie Smith, Editor,    April 10 2015

Jurgen Gothe

Broadcaster, bon vivant, self-taught music expert, and wine connoisseur Jurgen Gothe passed away last night.

According to his wife Kate Williams, Gothe died during happy hour in Haro Park Centre in Vancouver’s West End, where he had been living since last year.

He moved into the complex after his cancer progressed to a point where he couldn’t remain at home.

He’s also survived by his daughter Collette.

Gothe was the Georgia Straight‘s wine writer from 1997 to 2014. He continued writing columns while battling cancer, only stopping when he had to move into a care home because of his health problems.

His popular Uncorked column made wine accessible to hundreds of thousands of Vancouverites. In this role and as a wine writer for various other publications, Gothe contributed enormously to B.C.’s vibrant wine culture.

Gothe was no wine snob and made a point of writing about products that average British Columbians could afford.

Across Canada, Gothe is best known as the former host of the national DiscDrive show, which aired on CBC Radio 2 from 1985 to 2008. It featured an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and other forms of music, mixed in with Gothe’s trenchant observations and comments about his cat.

Before that, he hosted a CBC program called Front Row and worked at CHQM in Vancouver.



  1. I had the great good fortune to get to know Jurgen a bit, as he had a long running feature on 102.7 the PEAK, and before that on 600 AM. He was such a lovely man, and even as he got progressively more ill, continued to come in once a week to record Vancouver Flavors and joke with some of the staff. When he couldn’t do the show any longer it was a tough day for all of us, but especially for Jurgen. Rest well Jurgen. You done good.

  2. I first met Jurgen back in the early 1970’s when he came to work for CHQM AM/FM. He built the music logs for many of the on-air programs at both stations. In particular were Candlelight and Wine and Gaslight. The former providing easy listening music for the dinner hours while the latter ended the day with selections from the jazz world. At one point he second-chaired the writing of Man About Town, the long-running entertainment feature eventually copied by many stations. Later in his career, Jurgen wrote about good food and wine for the everyday man and woman. He made suggestions about pairings and where to go to get them. His choices were in both print (magazines and newspapers) and electronic outlets (radio and TV). Personally, he was just a great guy liked and admired by those who knew him.

    RIP Jurgen.

  3. Jurgen will be missed by his many friends. Tears are running down my face while writing this. I worked with Jurgen in advertising, first for the famous (or was it infamous) Dunsky Advertising, which was the official NDP ad agency during the reign of Premier Dave Barrett in the early to mid ’70s, where we worked on among other things, the first ICBC ad campaign. While at Dunsky, one lunchtime he introduced me to Danish open-faced sandwiches, followed by beer and aquavit chasers at the Scandia on East Hastings, after which we barely made it back to the office in one piece. Scenes from Mad Men come to mind. Then later we worked together on other advertising projects – he wrote the copy, I designed the ads. When he worked at CHQM, I used to tell him that one day he would have a national radio show on the CBC just like Bob Kerr – a prediction that would come true. He loved his wine and in the early ’80s he and I, along with my wife Robyn used to visit the long gone now Greek restaurant on West 2nd on Fridays for happy hour. We had great conversations, great Greek food and great wine. He had a large collection of vinyl albums, and when he moved back from Vancouver Island, he had to rent an extra truck just to move his many thousands of records. I also remember him telling me how he named St. Jovian, one of Anthony von Mandl’s first wines – after his cat, Jovian. He was a good friend who slipped in and out of my life for over 40 years. He’ll be truly missed by many.

  4. I worked with Jurgen for the first two years of Disc Drive during the ‘bomb threat period’ when some avid classical music listeners were threatening to blow up the CBC over Disc Drive’s format of playing only single movements of classical collections while mixing in New Age, Jazz, and Popular music genre selections. He was always a pleasure to work with and entertaining. After leaving the show to work in the drama department I would often visit the studio during breaks to enjoy the good vibes that came out of “Subterranean Studio 20” for those many years. As the second anniversary of his passing approaches (April 9, 2015) I think back on his talent and incredible story-telling abilities. I think I’ll listen to my tapes of “The Dog & Trombone” (based on his Mozart stories) and appreciate his creative genius once again. The CBC misses the talents of entertainers such as Jurgen Gothe.


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