The Austrian viticulture expert Dr. Karl Kaiser (1941-2017) first came into contact with viticulture as a seminary student in the Cistercian monastery of Lilienfeld (Lower Austria), when he was allowed to assist the monks with pressing. He finally gave up his original plan to become a priest, left the monastery, worked as a teacher for the time being and emigrated with his wife to Canada in 1967. Here he studied at Brock University in St. Catherines near Niagara Falls and graduated as a chemist in 1974.
In the same year, he and his partner Donald J. P. Ziraldo (*1948) obtained the first winegrowing license in Canada since prohibition. The two of them founded the Inniskillin Winery, introduced European grape varieties for the first time and produced dry wines for the first time. Karl Kaiser as the responsible cellar master also initiated the production of the first Canadian ice wine from Vidal Blanc, which subsequently won many international awards. The two were also instrumental in founding the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA). This is a quality and appellation system based on the model of European wine producing countries. This was the foundation of modern, Canadian viticulture.