Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery Review
Address: 700 Folly Hill Road Kennett Square,Pennsylvania 19382.
Phone Number: 484-899-8013
Tasting Hours: See website for wine tasting details.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Review Date: 9/6/2015
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Countless American wineries begin with a moment of clarity when someone decides to change direction and follow his or her passion. Such is the case with Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery in Chester County, Pennsylvania, founded in 2005 by Brad Galer, a doctor, and Lele Galer, an artist, who at the time decided that they wanted to do it right or not at all.
When arriving at the winery and Red Lion Vineyard location in Kennett Square, you will notice the beautiful wood buildings built from trees that were cut down to plant the original Home Vineyard in Pocopson Township with Albariño, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Vidal Blanc. An interesting fact about the Red Lion Vineyard is that it is only comprised of seven clones of Chardonnay vines, no other grape varieties, which demonstrates Galers commitment to producing first-rate Chardonnay. In addition to the Home and Red Lion Vineyards, the Galer team carefully selects vineyards from a 30-mile radius to source additional grapes, which brings their case production to a range of 1500-2500 cases annually. The winery makes a variety of award-winning wines at affordable price points, including a few red and white blends, Albariño, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and The Huntress, which is the name for two of the wines, a proprietary white blend and a Bordeaux-style red blend. They also make mead, whose honey comes from Swarm Bustin Honey in West Grove.
Upon entering the hospitality area, you immediately feel a sense of belonging and warmth. The tasting room and the outdoor patio area are bustling with activity, energy, and happy guests. In addition to wine, beautiful art inside and lovely vineyard views outside surround Galer’s guests. The tasting fee at Galer is very reasonably priced at $10 per person, but waived with a two-bottle purchase. I suspect very few tasting fees are collected, as the quality of the wines speaks for itself. You cannot help but leave with wine.
In May 2014, a new winemaker came on board at Galer, Virginia Mitchell, a young, up-and-coming Penn State graduate, whose winemaking experience includes Two Hands Wines in South Australia and Mazza Vineyards in Pennsylvania. My tasting appointment with Brad Galer and Mitchell focused on four whites and a sold-out rosé. The wines I tasted were the 2013 Albariño (there was not a 2014 vintage due to the extreme winter in Pennsylvania that year), the 2014 Red Lion Vineyard Chardonnay, the 2014 Viognier, the 2014 Huntress (this vintage, a blend of Traminette, Pinot Gris, and Vidal Blanc), and the 2014 Rosé (made from Pinot Noir). The Albariño, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Rosé are single-vineyard designated wines, hailing respectively from the Home Vineyard, Red Lion Vineyard, Mica Ridge Vineyards in Coatesville, and Corner Ford Farm in Chadds Ford. Even after only one vintage at Galer, it is apparent that Mitchell excels at making wines that are fermented and aged in stainless steel. These wines are aromatic, fruit forward, and palate friendly, with an emphasis on terroir, vintage, and purity of fruit.
This was my second visit to Galer, but it will not be my last. Having the opportunity to visit again this time with more attention and focus, I realized that I had indeed discovered a gem in an underrated winemaking region of the United States. A decade since its inception, it is evident that the Galers succeeded in their dream to do it right, creating a world-class winery that aptly reflects their philosophy of Blending Nature, Science, and Art.