Josef Zimmermann – Ontario Winemaker
Ontario Winemaker – Josef Zimmermann, the head vintner of Canada’s King’s Court Estate Winery, is the youngest of the 6th generation Zimmermann vintners. He started his grape growing education at a young age by helping on the family estate, especially during the summer school breaks. Josef’s formal grape growing and winemaking education started when he apprenticed at several well known estate wineries in Germany, including Dr. Bürklin-Wolf www.buerklin-wolf.de. In 1970 he completed a certificate as a journeyman viticulturalist/oenologist at the Lehr und Versuchsanstalt in Bad Kreuznach.
To further his studies, Josef enrolled at the Forschungsanstalt Geisenheim http://www.hs-geisenheim.de/startseite.html institute in Geisenheim, where in 1973 he received an Engineer’s Degree in Viticulture and Oenology. This was followed by a Master’s Degree in Liquid Food Processing in 1975 and further research in contamination of wines with heavy metals at the research institute in Freiburg.
Josef’s Canadian winemaking career began in 1976 when he joined one of Canada’s largest wineries, Jordan and Ste. Michelle Cellars, at its West Coast operation in Victoria, British Colombia. He later moved to Vancouver, British Colombia to oversee the west coast operations. From 1977 to 1978, Josef introduced new grape growing and winemaking technology to the young Canadian grape growing industry. In 1980, Josef was relocated to the company’s home office in Ontario, where in recognition of his hard work and expertise, he was appointed Director of Viticulture, Oenology, and Research for Canada.
Following an acquisition in 1986 of Jordan and Ste. Michelle Cellars by TG Brights Wines, Josef, turned his hand to brewing beer under the name Sculler Brewery in St. Catharines. The brewery was sold to Connor’s Brewery in 1988 after which Josef decided to return to his roots in the grape industry. Josef joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food to help the Ontario grape and wine industry face the newer challenges of the Free Trade agreement and then globalization by switching to nobler European varieties. After five years, Josef and his wife Siglinde decided to start a winery by purchasing an 11 acre farm. He has never regretted the decision since!
Roland Zimmermann – Sales Manager
Ontario Winemaker – Roland Zimmermann is the assistant winemaker at King’s Court Estate Winery in Canada. Following in his father’s footsteps, he cultivates a tradition of excellence, as the 7th generation of vintners in his family. His interest in viticulture was fostered by the burgeoning wine industry in the Niagara region. Participating in such events as the Grape & Wine Festival in St. Catharines, fuelled his passion for a long and continuing journey into the world of wines.
In 1998 he moved to Langenlonsheim, Germany to begin an apprenticeship in viticulture and winemaking at his uncles’ winery, Weingut Höhn-Zimmermann www.hoehn-zimmermann.de. Shortly thereafter, he enrolled at the same world-class wine institute as his father has before him, the Staatliche Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt Bad Kreuznach-Simmern in Bad Kreuznach, Germany where he completed a journeyman’s certificate in Viticulture and Oenology. Eager to apply his knowledge, Roland was accepted for a prestigious internship at Château Pichon-Longueville, Baron www.pichonlongueville.com.
Working with several of the French masters in Bordeaux compelled Roland to continue his education. In 2002 he attended the Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Wein- und Obstbau, in Weinsberg www.lvwo-weinsberg.de and completed a technicians’ degree in Viticultural and Oenological management in 2003. Rounding out his knowledge and experience, Roland sought to learn more about sales and marketing. In 2004 he ventured to London, England to join the team at Majestic Wines www.majestic.co.uk, one of the UK’s top end wine merchants.
His experiences in the UK were a revelation for Roland, opening his eyes to the possibility of marketing Canadian Icewine worldwide. In the fall of 2005 he returned to his roots, once again joining his family at King’s Court Estate Winery. Infused with fresh ideas and a new skill-set, his knowledge in sales and export are helping to put King’s Court Estate Winery on the world map. With a unique blend of family, tradition and innovation, expect great things in the future!