W I N E RY P R O F I L E
Perhaps one of the most exciting
new projects is a traditional-method
sparkling wine. Made in 2013, it
has spent six years on lees and
will be released in late 2020.
He’s not kidding. Stratus Red and
White are still the winery’s award-winning
However, the team also experiments
constantly. In 2017, they partnered with
industrial designer Karim Rashid to create
an angular “deconstructed” wine bottle for
the 2014 unfiltered Cabernet Franc.
Then there are the varieties seldom
found in Canadian vineyards, such as
Tannat, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.
In fall 2019, Groux gave his staff grapes
so they could experiment. “They decided
to make a skin-contact Viognier, an orange
wine soon to be bottled under the working
title ‘Stratus Trials,’ similar to a vin
jaune,” he noted, a dry sherry-like white
wine that’s commonly found in the Jura
region of France.
Perhaps one of the most exciting new
projects is a traditional-method sparkling
wine. Made in 2013, it has spent six years
on lees and will be released in late 2020. “It’s
tasting great. Otherwise we would not have
waited that long,” Groux laughed. “It will be
So, where does the team get their
inspiration for wines such as this one?
“Inspiration is difficult to pinpoint. You
read, you hear, you travel and you create
your own ideas,” Groux said.
That said, he admits the Stratus vineyard
“is always the greatest inspiration.
That’s where we get our ideas and what
drives us: the climate, the soil, the vineyard
Travel, too, plays a role, notes Janke.
“We’re all travellers, and we’re always
tasting and thinking about what the global
wine community is doing,” she said.
“And the new people we bring to the
vineyard and winery – they inspire us, too.
It’s teamwork, pushing each other to try
That includes aging wines in clay
and sandstone before bottling, in addition
to the longstanding stainless steel and
barrel-aging programs. They first tried a
Chardonnay aged in clay and, now, they’re
seeing how a red blend will taste.
“The sandstone seems to be winning
so far, but the clay is also very nice,” Groux
said. “What we do here, it’s a work in progress
– a lot of research and development.”
That research and experimentation
extends to all aspects of the winery.
Sustainability, for instance, has been important
for the Stratus team since the winery’s
beginning. They support Evergreen Canada,
a national organization that works with
greening cities. For the past five years or so,
Stratus has had a custom Evergreen wine
label and a portion of its sales goes back to
Stratus also works closely with
Sustainable Winemaking Ontario and its
various sustainability efforts, which have
included a rainwater collection program.
The winery was also the first in Niagara-
16 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca