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.”