Day 9: Q&A With Ontario Wine Supporter Gary Killops

Gary Killops

LENS Expert Gary Killops

I first met Gary back in 2011 and we shared something in common – he had a blog called (see this article) which turned out to be really similar to my (Gary uses his much more these days). Debbie and I have met up with Gary and his wife Wanda several times over the last 4 years and we always share our latest Ontario wine finds when we meet. In addition to being a wine blogger, Gary makes his own beer and wine, and writes for

Gary always travels with wine from his home region of Lake Erie North Shore (LENS), and is always showing wine lovers the best wines they produce. I can’t think of a stronger supporter for the LENS wine region!


Q1: How and when did you first get interested in Ontario wine?

A1: I don’t remember the year but I it was in the early 90’s. Back then I usually would pick up a bottle of Pait D’Or at the LCBO. I thought I was a real wine connoisseur buying wine from France. VQA wines were starting to get shelf space at the LCBO and I bought one, It was a white VQA wine from Inniskillin, I liked it and soon after it replaced Pait D’Or as my wine of choice.

Q2: What do you find most interesting about the Ontario wine industry?

A2: All three regions are making top notch world class wines yet Ontario is still relatively an unknown wine region around the world. I was recently talking with a couple from London England. They are wine drinkers and raved about the wines of California, New Zealand, and Australia that they buy. They were quite knowledgeable about these wines but had no idea that Ontario made wine at all.

Q3: Which Ontario wine regions have you visited? 

A3: All of them. I really haven’t explored Prince Edward County yet but on a trip to Ottawa I did make a detour to visit one winery there so I can say that I have been there! I do want to get back there and properly discover the region. Pelee Island used to be a wine region (now amalgamated into the lake Erie north Shore region) and I have been there too! The ferry ride to the island is fun and visiting the ruins of Canada’s first commercial winery Vin Villa a must do for any wine geek!

Q4: Any favourite wineries? If so, what makes them your favourite?

A4: Too many to list but I really like any winery that greets customers with a smile and makes guests feel welcome. The front-end sales staff are very important people who can make the experience of visiting a winery memorable. It’s more than selling wine, when I sense their passion they got me! Most wineries understand this and are doing a very good job at it.

Q5: What do you see in the future for the Ontario wine industry?

A5: Really hard to predict. There has been so much growth in the past 10 years and I am very excited for the future. Wineries are becoming vacation destinations with onsite restaurants and hotel/B&Bs right on the vineyard. I see a lot more growth in this area.

Q6: If you had any advice to give Ontario wineries, what is it?

A6: Keep on doing what you are doing. The past two winters have made it grape growing a challenge but you have shown just how resilient you can be.

Q7: What’s your social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.) of choice?

A7: Facebook for sure. I have a Twitter and Instagram account, I just don’t use them as much.

Q8: What was the last bottle of Ontario wine you opened?

A8: Does my own wine count? Last year I purchased Riesling and Chardonnay juice from Watson’s Vineyards in Niagara on the Lake. The riesling was bottled in June and I have been enjoying this wine all summer long. Being nostalgic however, I just opened a bottle of Pelee Island Winery pinot noir that has “VQA Pelee Island VQA” on the label. Don’t see that anymore.

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