Josef Zimmermann is the head vintner of Canada’s King’s Court Estate Winery. He is the youngest of the sixth generation Zimmermann vintners. Josef started his grape growing education at a young age by helping on the family estate in Germany. He was especially helpful during summer while he was not in school!
Josef’s formal grape growing and winemaking education began when he apprenticed at several respected estate wineries in Germany. This included Dr. Bürklin-Wolf. In 1970 he completed a journeyman’s certificate in Viticulture and Oenology at the Lehr und Versuchsanstalt in Bad Kreuznach.
After that Josef continued his studies at the Forschungsanstalt Geisenheim Institute in Geisenheim. Subsequently he received an Engineer’s Degree in Viticulture and Oenology in 1973. This was followed by a Master’s Degree in Liquid Food Processing in 1975. Josef also pursued further research about the contamination of wines with heavy metals at the research institute in Freiburg.
Moving to Canada
Josef’s Canadian winemaking career began in 1976. First he joined one of Canada’s largest wineries, Jordan and Ste. Michelle Cellars in Victoria, British Columbia. Later he moved to Vancouver, BC, to oversee the west coast operations. During his time there, 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. In recognition of his hard work and expertise, Josef was appointed Director of Viticulture, Oenology, and Research for Canada.
After an acquisition of Jordan and Ste. Michelle Cellars by TG Brights Wines in 1986, 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. Following this sale, Josef returned to his roots in the grape industry by joining the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. During his tenure there he set out to help the Ontario grape and wine industry face the new challenges of the Free Trade agreement, and then globalization, by switching to nobler European varieties of grapes.
Five years later Josef and his wife Siglinde decided to start a winery. They began by purchasing an 11 acre farm in St. Catharines. He has never regretted the decision!
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Chief of Operations
Roland Zimmermann is the assistant vintner, and Chief of Operations, at King’s Court Estate Winery. Following in his father’s footsteps, he continues a tradition of excellence as the seventh generation of vintners in his family. His interest in viticulture was fostered by the budding wine industry in the Niagara region. For instance, participating in events such as the Grape & Wine Festival in St. Catharines fueled Roland’s passion for a 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. Following that experience, he enrolled at the same world-class wine institute as his father had before him, the Staatliche Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt Bad Kreuznach-Simmern in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. While there he completed a journeyman’s certificate in Viticulture and Oenology. Eager to apply his knowledge, Roland then accepted a prestigious internship at Château Pichon Baron.
Roland was compelled to continue his education after working with several French masters in Bordeaux . Consequently in 2002 he attended the Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Wein-und Obstbau, in Weinsberg. There he completed a technicians’ degree in Viticultural and Oenological management in 2003. In order to round out his knowledge and experience, Roland sought to learn more about sales and marketing. As a result in 2004 he traveled to London, England, to join the team at Majestic Wines, one of the UK’s top-end wine merchants.
Roland’s experiences in the UK were a revelation. During his time there Roland’s eyes were opened to the possibility of marketing Canadian icewine worldwide. Subsequently he returned to his roots in the fall of 2005, joining his family at King’s Court Estate Winery. Roland’s fresh ideas and new skill-sets, partnered with his knowledge in sales and export, are helping to put King’s Court Estate Winery on the world map.
To sum it up, with a unique blend of family, tradition and innovation, you can expect great things in the future!
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Our Award Winning Vintages
Proudly Winning Awards 2013 - 2017