Communications, Media Relations and Public Affairs https://brocku.ca/media-room/media-releases/ Fri, 14 Dec 2018 22:02:23 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 Brock’s new Strategic Plan focuses on student experience, research, community engagement and inclusivity https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/12/14/brocks-new-strategic-plan-focuses-on-student-experience-research-community-engagement-and-inclusivity/ Fri, 14 Dec 2018 22:02:23 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1224 MEDIA RELEASE: 14 December 2018 – R00220

Brock University is capping off an exciting 2018 with a major achievement — a new Institutional Strategic Plan that will be instrumental in guiding the University into the future.

The document, entitled “Brock University:  Niagara Roots — Global Reach,” was developed through a broad-based, full-year consultation process and has been approved by the Board of Trustees and University Senate.

The Plan celebrates the University’s connection to the Niagara region, and reflects Brock’s advancing global reach and reputation. Looking at a seven-year span, from 2018-2025 — which includes Brock’s 60th anniversary in 2024 — the document brings focus on identifying and achieving the University’s academic, cultural and community objectives, defined by developments and growth into a dynamic next-generation university with enhanced strengths, experiential and work-integrated learning, advanced research activity and activated community partnerships.

The entire Plan can be viewed at Brock University Institutional Strategic Plan.

The document sets out four priorities to guide planning and decision-making until 2025:

  • Providing a transformational and accessible academic and student experience
  • Increasing the University’s research capacity
  • Enhancing the life and vitality of communities across Niagara region and beyond
  • Fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization

Realizing these priorities will assist the University in better meeting student academic and career aspirations; supporting faculty and staff initiatives in teaching, learning, research and scholarly activities; advancing the University’s role in regional community and economic development; and enhancing the work and learning environment at Brock.

The Strategic Plan also recognizes the University’s ability to play a dynamic role in building and contributing to the vitality and attractiveness of the Niagara region for individuals from across Canada and the world to come to learn, live and thrive. Already, the University contributes approximately $640 million each year to the economic vitality of the region, and expects to support even more growth. Brock also plans to strengthen its global reach through excellence and achievements in teaching and learning, research and community engagement activities.

The document grew out of extensive consultations that included meetings with people on campus and in surrounding communities, from students and academic deans, to social agencies, members of Indigenous communities, the Senate, Board, alumni and others.

Gary Comerford, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said the exercise of consulting, drafting and finalizing the Plan was an invaluable experience for the institution.

“We are at an exciting moment in the University’s history,” said Comerford. “Brock spent its first half century building a strong reputation for learning and discovery. Now it looks into its future with a Strategic Plan that everyone can believe in, because so many people had a hand in creating it.”

Scott Henderson, Chair of Senate, also felt the consultation process created “an impressively clear sense of Brock as an institution.”

“Feedback from senators, from Board members, from faculty, staff, students and community members, was all very much in alignment,” said Henderson. “It is a reminder that we have done an excellent job of carving out a unique identity in our first 50-plus years, and that positions us well for dynamic growth as we head towards Brock at 60.”

President Gervan Fearon called it a Plan “we embrace with pride, for the vision it holds for the future of the University,” and said the document highlights how Brock can contribute to post-secondary education in Ontario, and support the development of the talent and capacity needed for advancing regional community and economic development.

“Brock is an increasingly national and internationally recognized University for its leadership in experiential and work-integrated learning programs,” he said. “We are building on these strengths to further our research profile as a comprehensive university.  We are forging the future together, by reflecting what we heard through the consultation process.”

The President thanked former-Provost Tom Dunk for his leadership during the consultation process. He said developing the Strategic Plan involved many individuals and stakeholders across the University community, and they can all be proud about what has been achieved and the future ahead.

“This document sets out the pathways for us to follow,” said Dunk, “but there are more specific things that will have to be determined at the unit level, decisions that need to be made on the ground.”

“A university cannot exist in isolation of its own region. This is a priority that came directly out of our consultation process, both internally and externally.”

As part of the Strategic Plan’s implementation, individual Unit Plans will now be developed in Faculties and units across campus, along with metrics and measurable outcomes to reflect Brock’s commitment to accountability and to mandates that inform post-secondary education in the province.

These detailed Unit Plans will be developed through faculty and staff engagement, and the co-ordination of the Vice-Presidents, including Greg Finn, Vice-President, Academic, and Provost, Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research, and Brian Hutchings, Vice-President, Administration.

Annual progress reports and updates will be made.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Tech gadgets aren’t just for youngsters on your gift list https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/12/13/tech-gadgets-arent-just-for-youngsters-on-your-gift-list/ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 18:39:25 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1222 MEDIA RELEASE: 13 December 2018 – R00219

It’s not just teenagers who might have a new smartphone or tablet on their holiday wish list this year. Older adults want new tech, as well. But before you buy grandma a new iPad, you may want to think about how she’ll learn to use it.

Older adults are often uncomfortable with new technology, but applied behaviour analysis could help overcome that discomfort, says Kimberley Zonneveld, Assistant Professor in Brock University’s Department of Applied Disability Studies.

“But once you break down that barrier and teach older adults to use their new device to access YouTube, for example, their whole world opens up,” she says.

For older adults, understanding how to use technology could improve their quality of life.

“As behaviour analysts, that’s what we all want,” says Zonneveld.

Exactly how best to teach those skills was at the heart of a recent study led by Zonneveld’s graduate student, Jacqueline Pachis. Study results showed that older adults benefitted equally from written instructions and video modelling.

“Think about ways people learn how to do things,” says Zonneveld. “They get a written instruction manual or they go on YouTube and watch a video.”

Study participants, all of whom lived in a local retirement residence, were taught to use an iPad to use the Internet, which was “a tipping point,” she says. “That’s what behaviour analysis is all about — making big, socially significant improvements in people’s lives.”

So, Zonneveld says go ahead and buy grandma or grandpa the latest tech gadget, but keep in mind they’ll need to learn how to use it. Before you tie the ribbon, you may want to tuck detailed instructions into the box or make a personalized video they can watch to learn how to get the most out of their new device.

Kimberley Zonneveld, Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Disability Studies, is available for interviews.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Expert Advisory: Look at the label when choosing wine this holiday season https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/12/11/expert-advisory-look-at-the-label-when-choosing-wine-this-holiday-season/ Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:10:09 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1220 MEDIA RELEASE: 11 December 2018 – R00218

‘Tis the season for gift giving, and if you’re looking to impress someone on your list, you may want to take a closer look at the label.

Brock University research has shown that choosing a wine with a picture on the bottle or one with a difficult-to-pronounce name will likely make the recipient believe you spent more money.

Antonia Mantonakis, an Associate Professor of Marketing in Brock University’s Goodman School of Business, studies how consumers perceive wines. She says wine labels can have a big impact on consumer choices.

According to her research, consumers believe a wine is more expensive and better tasting when the winery has a complicated name. If the wine label has a picture on it, people are more likely to think the wine is award-winning.

“It’s interesting how consumers perceive things,” Mantonakis said. “Something like the sound of a name can elicit a thought, and that thought can influence the perception of how something tastes.”

 

Brock University Associate Professor Antonia Mantonakis is available for interviews about issues related to her research.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Statues of Indigenous leaders find new home at Brock https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/12/10/statues-of-indigenous-leaders-find-new-home-at-brock/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:01:35 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1218 MEDIA RELEASE: 10 December 2018 – R00217

The permanent home for statues of two Indigenous war captains will be unveiled at Brock University Friday, Dec. 14.

Paper composite statues of John Norton and John Brant, Indigenous captains from the War of 1812, will be installed in an upper floor of the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex overlooking the Healing Garden to the north of the building.

The statues, which were previously on display in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines, are paper replicas of the bronze statues of Norton and Brant installed at the Landscape of Nations Commemorative Memorial in Queenston Heights Park.

A ceremony to unveil the statues at Brock will take place at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the ground floor, northwest corner of the Cairns Complex at the entrance closest to the Healing Garden.

What: Unveiling of John Norton and John Brant paper composite statues

When: Friday, Dec. 14, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex (Ground Floor), Brock University

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Brock-led research shows impact of school start times on teens’ sleep https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/12/04/brock-led-research-shows-impact-of-school-start-times-on-teens-sleep/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 17:40:23 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1215 MEDIA RELEASE: 4 December 2018 – R00215

Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

Delaying high school start times by as little as 10 minutes can increase adolescents’ length of sleep by almost 25 minutes, says new Brock-led research.

Similarly, shifts to earlier start times for secondary school were associated with less sleep among the students, says the study, “School start time changes in the COMPASS study: associations with youth sleep duration, physical activity, and screen time.”

Lead author, Brock Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Karen Patte, says the results are significant because at least one-third of adolescents don’t get the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep.

“Sleep deficiency increases the risk of various health concerns and risk behaviours, such as substance use, lower academic achievement, poor mental health, accidents and injuries, obesity and unhealthy eating habits,” says Patte.

Patte and her team examined data on students’ health behaviours and school policies included in the wider COMPASS study.

Headquartered at the University of Waterloo, the nine-year study follows about 70,000 students from Grades 9 to 12 at more than 120 Canadian schools to learn more about youth health behaviours and the effect of programs and policies over time. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Health Canada fund the research.

Patte and her team examined data on students attending 49 secondary schools across Ontario. Thirteen start time changes of five to 10 minutes were reported among the group of schools while participating in the study.

“We found that students slept an average of 23.7 minutes longer after their school delayed the start time by 10 minutes, whereas changing start times to 10 minutes earlier was associated with shorter sleep durations,” says Patte. Changes of five minutes either way had no effect on sleep.

Patte says there were concerns that adolescents would use the extra time from the later start of school to be on their phones or devices. There were also fears that starting school later would mean less time for extracurricular activities, particularly those involving sports and other physical activities.

When the researchers compared adolescents’ screen times and physical activity levels with changes in school start times, they found no association.

“Results do not support notions that youth will spend more time on their phones or other screens instead of using the extra time afforded to sleep — at least when it comes to minor shifts in start times,” says Patte.

Patte explains that during puberty, there’s a shift in the body’s circadian clock so that melatonin is released at a later time, meaning that adolescents get tired later at night.

The result is that teenagers need extra sleep time in the morning to adjust to this biological change to get sufficient rest, hence the advantage in starting school later, she says.

“This study demonstrates how sensitive student sleep is to school schedules and suggests we need to take caution when making changes.”

In addition to delaying school start times, there are several other ways of getting adolescents to get the sleep they need. A comprehensive approach is likely needed, including consistent bedtimes, avoiding caffeine in the evenings, being active during the day, getting natural light and keeping phones outside of the bedroom, says Patte.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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The secret Fizz Club for Canada’s winemakers https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/12/03/the-secret-fizz-club-for-canadas-winemakers/ Mon, 03 Dec 2018 21:16:40 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1213 MEDIA RELEASE: 3 December 2018 – R00214

As wine lovers ponder which bottle of bubbly to pop this holiday season, winemakers from across Canada will be swapping secrets for making the best sparkling wine this week at Brock University.

Eighty of Canada’s top sparkling winemakers will travel to Brock on Thursday Dec. 6 for the annual Fizz Club — a members-only gathering where winemakers compare notes, discuss triumphs and challenges relating to sparkling wine production and learn about new research developments.

Organized by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and led by senior scientist Belinda Kemp, this year’s Fizz Club will be the largest gathering to date with attendees from Ontario, B.C., Quebec and Nova Scotia.

“When we started this, most of the winemakers who attended Fizz Club were based in Niagara,” said Kemp. “Now in its sixth year, we have winemakers coming from all across Canada, including more than 20 wineries from Quebec.”

As Fizz Club grows in popularity, so do Fizz-loving consumers. More than 90 local wineries are now producing sparkling wines and sales are surging with overall sales of VQA sparkling up 13 percent year-over-year.

Kemp will share the latest research CCOVI is doing to help local grape growers and winemakers produce quality sparkling wine, including new results from studies regarding how different soil types affect sparkling wine flavour, mouthfeel and texture.

Excitement continues to build around Canadian sparkling wine as last week CCOVI hosted the world’s largest Canadian sparkling wine tasting, with 135 bottles from four provinces. More information on the historic tasting can be found here.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Britt Dixon, Communications Officer, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University bdixon@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4471

 * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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CCOVI hosts world’s largest tasting of Canadian sparkling wine https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/11/30/ccovi-hosts-worlds-largest-tasting-of-canadian-sparkling-wine/ Fri, 30 Nov 2018 17:56:33 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1211 MEDIA RELEASE: 30 November 2018 – R00213

More than 130 bottles of sparkling wine from four provinces were popped at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) this week, in the world’s largest tasting of Canadian sparkling wine.

Tom Stevenson, regarded as one of the world’s leading sparkling wine experts, travelled to Brock from the United Kingdom to taste sparkling wines from Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Nova Scotia.

“I am really pleased because there are a lot of really good sparkling wines here,” said Stevenson. “After the first flight I found a few potential gold and silver wines.”

Stevenson has been tasting top sparkling wines blind in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), which he founded and is the head judge for. He said Canada is a strong contender and hopes some of the producers he earmarked will be encouraged to participate in the global competition.

“It would increase the profile of Canadian sparkling wine. We haven’t typically had many entries from Canada in the past to really see what these producers have available from a competition perspective,” Stevenson said.

Over a number of hours, he tasted the wines alongside wine writer and judge Treve Ring, who said the top wines stood out in the tasting room when it came to balance, complexity and depth.

“I think the top wineries in Canada are making sparkling wines that can easily stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the top wineries around the world,” Ring said. “It was fantastic to see such diversity of wines and styles, everything from ancient method through to traditional method sparkling wine that has been aged for years.”

The tasting was organized and hosted by CCOVI Senior Scientist Belinda Kemp. Her lab, dubbed ‘The Bubble Lab,’ is recognized for its leading sparkling wine research and outreach work, helping grape growers and winemakers produce quality sparkling wines through initiatives such as Fizz Club — a networking group for Canadian sparkling winemakers.

“I’m so pleased we were able to showcase wines from so many wineries, especially with our annual Fizz Club taking place next week,” said Kemp. “It is quite incredible to watch the progress of Canadian sparkling wines as we raise awareness of production techniques and tackle challenges with CCOVI research. This is just the beginning for Canadian sparkling wine.”

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Britt Dixon, Communications Officer, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University bdixon@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4471

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Brock Homestay program connects hosts with international students https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/11/29/brock-homestay-program-connects-hosts-with-international-students/ Thu, 29 Nov 2018 18:22:24 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1209 MEDIA RELEASE: 29 November 2018 – R00212

When Lara Lorge’s two sons moved out, the extra room in her home left a void.

At first, the quiet space was a welcome change for Lorge, an Outreach Worker with Niagara Public Health, but she soon realized she needed more in her life.

When a longtime friend mentioned fond memories of interacting with students from around the world as part of a Brock University Homestay program, Lorge discovered what was missing.

Her decision was also timely. Brock has experienced a record level of international student enrolment over the past year, creating a need for more student accommodation.

In October, Lorge was paired with Yuki Sato, from Kobe, Japan and Yiming Yuan from Nanchang, China, both currently studying Level 3 English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Brock.

A longstanding program at the institution, Homestay connects Canadian families with incoming international ESL students as they adapt to the lifestyle and demands of being a student in Canada.

Lorge, who will host Sato and Yuan for 14 weeks, already appreciates the positive influence the students have had on her life.

“It’s been good to have the energy here,” she said. “We find a lot of humour in trying to understand each other through the language barrier.

A typical day involves the students making their own breakfast before catching the bus to and from school. ESL students attend five hours of English classes daily to increase their language proficiency.

When they return home, Sato and Yuan have dinner with Lorge and pack lunches for the next day. They often spend the evening talking and learning more about each other.

“It’s been a good experience,” said Yuan. “Lara always spends time talking with me, and we have lots of fun living together.”

Even though their time in her home has been brief, Lorge has learned a great deal about her guests’ culture, enjoying trips to the market together to make dishes that would make them feel at home.

“At first we had difficulties communicating with each other, but as we learned to understand each other, it has been more enjoyable,” said Sato.

Lorge has also noticed a significant improvement in the students’ English, as well as their comfort level living thousands of kilometres away from home.

Participating in the Homestay program is a great way for Canadian families to learn about other cultures and give back to the community. Host families are compensated with $800 per month to cover the additional cost of food and electricity throughout the student’s stay.

“I wish I had the room when my sons were younger to open their world view and expose them to new things,” said Lorge.

Residents living in the St. Catharines and Thorold area who are interested in learning more about the Homestay program are invited to an information session at the Brock University International Centre on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Global Commons.

To apply, residents must complete an online application. Questions can be sent to homestay@brocku.ca, or phone 905-688-5550 x5029.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Mature female STEM students face many barriers https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/11/28/mature-female-stem-students-face-many-barriers/ Wed, 28 Nov 2018 17:10:30 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1207 MEDIA RELEASE: 28 November 2018 – R00211

Mature female students pursuing Canadian university degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects face discrimination and other barriers, says a Brock-authored Canadian Commission for UNESCO research report.

“Most women return to school because they know they have the capacity and ability to contribute to society,” says the report, researched and written by Brock University Professor of Biology Liette Vasseur and Brock Biology master’s student Heather VanVolkenburg.

“These people are usually highly motivated and efficient in their studies, in part because of their level of maturity,” says the report, which also applies to women in college programs in the trades. “Unfortunately, they face several barriers that they most likely never anticipated.”

These barriers include things like inadequate daycare, ineligibility for scholarships and a belief that mature female students won’t produce as much research because of family commitments, says the report, titled “The Non-Linear Paths of Women in STEM: The Barriers in the Current System of Professional Training.”

The report defines ‘mature students’ as being 25 years of age and older.

Vasseur, who holds the UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: From Local to Global, presented the report at a conference in Ottawa Tuesday, Nov. 27. Following Vasseur’s keynote address, a panel discussion was held on equity and inclusion in post-secondary STEM learning that included Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Mona Nemer.

The report identifies six reasons why people don’t pursue a ‘linear’ university educational path, which typically moves from undergraduate to master’s to PhD with no or little break:

  • New career options
  • Need for more credentials
  • Delay due to family reasons
  • Need for family support
  • Career prospect improvement
  • Self-interest

Unlike their male counterparts, many female mature students delayed further studies because of a widespread perception that raising a family and pursuing academic degrees and careers were incompatible goals, says the report.

This perception results in an “unconscious bias” that manifests itself in many ways, explains Vasseur.

“One woman told me she was given a less-important research project because it was believed that she wouldn’t return the next year, as she was expecting,” says Vasseur.

In another case, a mature woman had a similar experience, but in her case she was given a less-important project because she was close to retirement age.

Female students with young children may find it difficult or impossible to attend an 8 a.m. or evening class when daycare centres open at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and end by 5 or 6 p.m., Vasseur says.

Regarding financial support, the report notes that many student scholarship and employment opportunities are limited to people 30 years old and under. There are similar age caps in some postgraduate employment recruitment and retention programs.

Ironically, despite these and other barriers, mature female students have a graduation rate of 70 per cent, compared to a graduation rate of 56 per cent for male mature students, says the report.

And, the graduation rate of all mature students was four times higher than for young students in the years leading into 2015, says the report.

Most universities are not particularly welcoming to mature students in general, says Vasseur.

That’s because many universities in Canada were set up in the 1950s and 60s for a new generation of youth who needed to be educated in a booming post-war job market.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Improve information for mature students, especially on things like specific awards
  • Take work experience more into account for mature student admissions
  • Offer more online options, especially for early morning or evening classes
  • Train professors and admissions staff on unconscious bias
  • Remove age limits for scholarships and student employment programs

The report, “The Non-Linear Paths of Women in STEM: The Barriers in the Current System of Professional Training,” can be found on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO website.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Wine industry giants, Brock U research builders Ziraldo and Kaiser cited with elite award https://brocku.ca/media-room/2018/11/26/wine-industry-giants-brock-u-research-builders-ziraldo-and-kaiser-cited-with-elite-award/ Mon, 26 Nov 2018 20:08:15 +0000 http://brocku.ca/media-room/?p=1205 MEDIA RELEASE: 26 November 2018 – R00210

Canadian winery icons Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser, who revolutionized an industry and then helped create Brock University’s renowned grape and wine research centre CCOVI, have been honoured with the first Lifetime Achievement Award ever presented by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The partners were feted as “the pioneers of Ontario’s wine renaissance” at a gala at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, where Ziraldo was joined by Andrea Kaiser, who accepted on behalf of her late father. The award was sponsored by Brock University.

In 1975, Ziraldo and Kaiser obtained a licence for a new winery they called Inniskillin. Ontario wines were typically sweet and syrupy, due to the region’s hardy labrusca vines that could survive Canadian winters. But Ziraldo and Kaiser believed European vitis vinifera vines could produce world-class wines and also cope with the local climate.

They soon began winning major international awards, including the Grand prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France. Inniskillin went from cottage winery to global success, and the reputation of Canadian wines went viral.

Since then, Niagara has become carpeted with vineyards and known as ‘Napa North,’ a destination for connoisseurs and wine tourists alike. When Inniskillin received its licence, the first to be issued in half a century, there were only six other wineries in Ontario. Today there are nearly 200, and grape and wine is a $9-billion national industry that contributes to thousands of jobs.

While sales flourished, however, the industry lacked the research support and regional science that is crucial to keeping an area’s vines healthy and its quality high.

By 1996, a group of winemakers, grape growers and Brock scientists met regularly to identify the needs of the rapidly expanding industry. The group included Bill Cade, then Brock’s Dean of Mathematics and Science, who brought in industry leaders like Ziraldo, Kaiser, Paul Bosc, John Howard and others.

Wine writer Linda Bramble recalled the energy: “I remember Donald (Ziraldo) repeating, ‘Every significant wine region in the world has a research institute associated with it. We need this, too!’”

Before the year was out, Brock launched its Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), which has been a working partner of the industry ever since. Two years later, CCOVI would move into its new home, named Inniskillin Hall in honour of a generous gift from Ziraldo and Kaiser.

At the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, Ziraldo praised his longtime partner.

“Karl’s genius with Icewine created an opportunity to build a global luxury brand,” Ziraldo said. “I deeply appreciate the recognition by the Chamber, and encourage young vintners to continue our quest for greatness.”

Andrea Kaiser recounted how her father very nearly did not become a vintner. After emigrating from Austria in the late 1960s, he found his education credentials were not recognized in Canada. However, his plans to go back to school and become a teacher changed after a chance meeting with Ziraldo.

“But even in winemaking, he remained a teacher, always eager to share his winemaking techniques,” she said. “He was so honoured to be invited back to Brock to teach at CCOVI as it combined his two passions in life, wine and learning.”

Brock President Fearon said the vision and innovation shown by Ziraldo and Kaiser will continue to inspire generations of entrepreneurs and leaders.

“It is hard to think of two individuals whose vision and commitment to quality and excellence better exemplifies dramatic growth in the competitiveness and vitality of the Ontario industry landscape,” Fearon said. “I am proud to say that Brock, through CCOVI, was a partner in these developments reflecting our commitment to supporting transformative regional community and economic growth.”

Comerford saluted the pair’s legacy to research and education.

“I am very proud that for more than 20 years, Donald and Karl have been instrumental in helping to create at Brock, what has become Canada’s leading grape and wine research centre,” he said.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce President Rocco Rossi said Ziraldo and Kaiser were a perfect choice as the first-ever recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Their determination to create the highest quality wines not only transformed the Canadian wine industry but demonstrates the innovation, entrepreneurship and hard work of the businesses built in our own back yard,” said Rossi.

Photo captions:

Photo 1: At the Ontario Chamber of Commerce event, Brock President Gervan Fearon presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to Andrea Kaiser, as Board Chair Gary Comerford, left, and Don Ziraldo look on.

Photo 2: An undated photo of Karl Kaiser, left, and Don Ziraldo in a Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard.

Photo 3: Karl Kaiser, left, and Don Ziraldo on the Brock University campus in 1999.

Photo 4: At the Ontario Chamber of Commerce event, Aspen Ziraldo was excited about his dad’s latest award.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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