Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Dr. Karl Kaiser, one of Canada's pre-eminent winemakers who introduced icewine to oenophiles around the globe, is the recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award, presented annually by the Brock University Alumni Association.
The award is given to a Brock graduate who has made an exceptional contribution to his or her profession, the community and the University.
Dr. Kaiser, co-founder of and winemaker for internationally recognized Inniskillin Wines, earned his BSc degree in chemistry and biochemistry from Brock in 1974. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University in 1994.
"I am delighted to have been selected for this honour," said Dr. Kaiser, "and I am proud to be a graduate of Brock. Since my graduation 31 years ago, the University has continued to grow tremendously in enrolment, faculty and stature. I'm pleased to be a part of that proud tradition."
The award will be presented at the Fall Convocation ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 15.
"We are thrilled to present this award to Karl Kaiser, a Brock graduate whose local, national and international achievements demonstrate the value of a degree from this University," said Richard Knabenschuh, President of the Brock University Alumni Association. "Dr. Kaiser's efforts have helped to distinguish Niagara as a premium wine-producing region and tourist destination, and he was also a strong proponent for the establishment of Brock's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI)."
Dr. Kaiser maintains his commitment to the University by conducting research in collaboration with Brock faculty. He also has lectured in the past to CCOVI students.
The winemaker now focuses his attention solely on icewine, a late-harvest icon that has gained international prestige and is in high demand. In 1991, Dr, Kaiser won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at Vinexpo for his 1989 icewine, drawing the world's attention to Canadian wine and introducing wine lovers everywhere to Canada's gift of winter.
Dr. Kaiser was born in Austria and was a student in a monastery where viticulture and winemaking were time-honoured traditions. After compulsory military service, he taught at a vocational school and spent his spare time helping in the cellars of a small wine producer. In 1969, he immigrated to Canada, returned to school, and earned his science degree from Brock.
While studying at the University, Dr. Kaiser began planting his own grape vines and making his own wine. He met his future business partner, Donald Ziraldo, and they applied for a winery licence, which resulted in the formation of the award-winning Inniskillin Wines.
Several years ago, Dr. Kaiser was appointed National Vice-President, Quality and Science, for Vincor International, Inniskillin's parent company. He is an active member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture and the Canadian Society of Oenology and Viticulture.
Earlier this year, Dr. Kaiser received the Ontario Wine Society's first Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1993, he received the Order of Ontario and in 2002, he was presented with the Golden Jubilee Award, which recognized the 50th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.