For a lot of people, sitting down to a nice glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay is a great way to unwind and enjoy wine. Financial advisor Gilles Chevalier has taken his passion for wine to another level – owning a winery. Chevalier is the co-founder and president of the Domaine Queylus located on the beautiful Niagara Peninsula.
Founded in 2007, Domaine Queylus had its first harvest in 2010 and in late 2013 launched its first wines.
Gilles Chevalier is highly involved in the insurance industry. He is currently vice chair of the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) and chair of next AGM scheduled for May 2017. He has been a financial advisor for 36 years in Montreal. Chevalier believes that for any business person, pursuing a separate passion from their day-to-day business is important, even critical.
“Another passion opens your perspective on things. You have to have something else other than your career. It will not impact your career negatively, it’s only positive.”
He first started pursuing his passion for wine as a collector. “Then I thought, lets push this passion further, so I decided to start a winery.”
However, running both a financial services firm and a winery is no task for the weak.
“It’s a challenge to balance what is important and what is urgent. In a winery everything is urgent since you’re dealing with nature. I’ve learned some important lessons such as you can’t postpone, you can’t procrastinate when you run a winery. When the grape is ready, it’s ready.”
Whether Chevalier is in his 21st floor offce in downtown Montreal or in the vineyard, there’s always plenty to do. But, he finds his winery responsibilities calming.
A different world
“I might get a phone call from vineyard about business and suddenly I’m transported into a different world… It’s relaxing.”
Beyond the pleasure involved in running a winery, Chevalier and Domaine Queylus’ objective is to produce premium wines, rich in quality.
“Our goal at the start was to produce wine that we could put on the table in front of our friends and be proud.”
Currently the vineyard produces both red and white wines including: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Rosé. Chevalier says the winery has reached international standards in terms of quality. He credits this to the winery having very similar conditions and the same limestone soil as its French counterparts. The next step for Chevalier and his wine business is to grow by building its reputation and expanding outside of Canada’s borders.
Domaine Queylus has won several awards and has received rave reviews, including consistently rating above 90. In 2016, Domaine Queylus was named among the top ten best performing small wineries in Canada by National Wine Awards of Canada.
Currently Domaine Queylus can be purchased on the winery’s website and is available at SAQ’s in Quebec and LCBO’s in Ontario, as well as being available in many other provinces across Canada.