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Return of the Z Man (October 30, 2009)

Donald Ziraldo, the man who put Canadian Icewine on the world map, is back in the wine business again. Three years after he retired as co-founder of Inniskillin, the indefatigable marketer has produced his own Riesling Icewine under the Ziraldo label.

"It was Icewine I discovered at John Howard's Meglomaniac winery," says Ziraldo. "I tried to help him sell it and I didn't sell it because the deals fell through. I was going to package it for Christmas. So I'm bottling it myself and releasing it on November 21st in Hong Kong, Paris and Ontario."

Four hundred cases of the Ziraldo Riesling Icewine 2007 were produced under the watchful eye of Ziraldo's former Inniskillin partner, Karl Kaiser, who also retired from the company they both founded in 1974, in 2006. A year later Ziraldo and Kaiser published a book entitled Icewine: Extreme Winemaking.

The pair came to prominence at Vinexpo on 1991 when Inniskillin Vidal Icewine 1989 won the Grand Prix d'Honneur.  The winery, under Vincor International, and subsequently Constellation Brands, went on to become the world's largest producer of Icewine.

Donald Ziraldo has also planted a small vineyard in the Niagara Peninsula to produce his own Icewine on an annual basis. The sleek black package for Ziraldo Riesling Icewine 2007, with its audacious logo (a naked woman working a basket press), was designed by Karl Kaiser's son, Max.

The wine has a sweet, spicy honey, peach and mango flavour with lively acidity. "I want to create a brand honouring Canada's national treasure working in harmony with and respecting the 'terroir' of the Niagara Region," says Ziraldo.

 

 

 

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