Karen Gillis

Andrew Peller Limited

Karen Gillis didn’t follow the usual path to wine country. She grew up in Vancouver surrounded by a family of chefs and dreamed of becoming one herself. Encouraged to gain a solid foundation in culinary knowledge, Gillis graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in 1996 with a Diploma in Food Technology.

Her diverse background includes three years working in the food sciences industry where she developed products that are still sold in today’s marketplace. Perhaps all that work with food led her naturally to seek knowledge about its best accompaniment, but while working on these projects, Karen started thinking about wine as a means of gaining greater control over the basic ingredients that she worked with. She joined Andrés Wines (now Andrew Peller Limited) and within two years became assistant winemaker.

In 2006 Karen moved to Kelowna to work with the rest of the Andrew Peller winemaking team. Collaborating with an experienced team in the heart of BC wine country both expanded her knowledge and experience and let her contribute to the success of one of that winery’s key brands.

All great wines start in the vineyard, Karen moved to Vineyard Operations for Andrew Peller BC in 2020 knowing that there was a greater opportunity to knit vineyards and winemaking teams together.  Considered easy-going, that doesn’t mean unambitious. Karen wants to propel all Andrew Peller wines to be a benchmark for quality in Okanagan.  She is looking at vineyards, technology and process to farm with the intent to leave the land better place than she found, and for generations to enjoy.

Karen enjoys gardening and outdoor sports. She remains an avid cook and attends culinary classes every chance she gets. For fun, she cans and preserves from her garden and local farms, she always has some goodies to share from her bounty.

As a panelist, Karen will speak to: Contracts  ̶  fruit ripeness and sustainability.