The Austrian winegrower Dr. Karl Kaiser (1941-2017) first came as a seminary student in the Cistercian monastery Lilienfeld (Lower Austria) in contact with viticulture when he was allowed to assist the monks with the pressing. He finally gave up the original plan to become a priest, left the monastery, initially worked as a teacher, and emigrated with his wife in 1967 Canada out. Studied here at Brock University in St. Catherines near Niagara Falls and graduated in 1974 as a chemist.
In the same year he and his partner Donald JP Ziraldo (* 1948) obtained the first wine license in Canada since prohibition, The two founded the winery Inniskillin, introduced European grape varieties for the first time and produced dry wines for the first time here. As the cellar master in charge, Karl Kaiser also initiated the production of the first Canadian icewine out Vidal Blanc, who subsequently won many international awards. The two were also instrumental in founding the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA). This is a quality and Appelationssystem modeled on European wine-growing countries. This was the foundation of modern Canadian winegrowing.
At the initiative and under the leadership of Karl Kaiser, the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) was founded at Brock University and the Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) program was started. With this university commitment, he made a major contribution to the development of the Niagara wine region. For this he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Brock University in 1994. After further honors and awards, Kaiser was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ontario Wine Society shortly before his retirement in 2005. The three children of Kaiser are all successful in the wine industry.