It’s indeed an honor that pioneering Canadian winemaker Donald Ziraldo has agreed to write a guest post for this blog. In 1975 Ziraldo, with partner Karl Kaiser, established Inniskillin, the first post-Prohibition winery in Ontario’s Niagara region. In 1984 Ziraldo and Kaiser produced their first vintage of icewine (see below). Inniskillin icewine would in time help establish Canada as a winegrowing region of importance and cement the winery’s worldwide fame.
Ziraldo is also equally important as a pioneer winemaker in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. There’s little doubt that Ziraldo’s early work there has helped the Okanagan become one of the most important new winegrowing regions in North America. Kelowna in the Okanagan is the fastest growing city in Canada and it’s quickly becoming Canada’s culinary capital.
Since Inniskillin’s sale in 2006 Ziraldo has established his own winery and has been managing a port producer in Portugal’s Douro Valley. I’ve asked Ziraldo to write about the Niagara Escarpment Region. Who better than Ziraldo? Going forward I certainly hope he stays engaged with the blog enough to give us periodic updates.
He may surprise us with important information about the Okanagan too. Ziraldo, like so many winemakers, is a passionate local food devotee. Hopefully his piece will also bring us up to date on what’s happening with the exciting Ontario food culture. I’ll let you know when his piece is ready to go.