J-L Groux

Stra­tus Vine­yards, Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake, stra­tuswines.com


“I first moved from France to North Amer­ica in 1981,” re­calls J-L Groux, “to work in the wine in­dus­try in the States, but I could never find a beer I liked. Then one day, in Chicago, a friend said, ‘Try that one!’ and oh, it was good. It was a Moose­head lager from Canada. So that was my in­tro­duc­tion to Canada and I moved here in 1988.

“There is so much more good beer now than there was then, es­pe­cially with the new craft brew­eries open­ing up in Ni­a­gara. At Stra­tus, we’re right next door to Oast House brew­ers and some­times we ex­change wine and beer—and customers! And now there’s The Ex­change Brew­ery in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake and I en­joy what­ever sea­sonal ale they’re mak­ing. I like am­ber ale and I some­times find a Chimay from Bel­gium, one of the beers I grew up with in France. “On Fri­day evening, we have a get-to­gether with my staff and we nor­mally taste a bot­tle of wine to­gether, but some­times we’ll bring in a lo­cal beer—or even go out and pay a visit to the brew­ery. There’s a great deal of re­search and de­vel­op­ment go­ing on, and it’s very in­ter­est­ing to see what they’re do­ing.”

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