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On the Wine Trail: Galen Glen Vineyards & Winery

September 7, 2010

(A Re-post from Wine Life Magazine, www.winelifemagazine.com)

Galen Glen Vineyards & Winery
255 Winter Mountain Drive
Andreas, PA 18211
570-386-3682
www.galenglen.com

Hours:
Friday 12 noon to 5 pm
Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday 12 noon to 5 pm
Expanded seasonal hours
Location: North of Allentown area

History of the Winery: Galen Glen, like many vineyards in the PA region, grew from an original family farm whose current generation turned the property into a vineyard and winery.  Unique to this wine story is that the farm is a “double century farm,” meaning it has been continuously operated for more than 200 years.   The gift of a bottle of wine from Hawaii, of all places, was the spark that finally led them to explore planting wine grapes on their farm. After all, they surmised, if grapes are growing in Hawaii, why not in Andreas, PA?

The farm and surrounding countryside looked a lot like a southern German wine region they had visited, full of rolling hills, cool nights and good soil.  It’s no surprise, German immigrants settled the area in the 1800’s from Lancaster to Lehigh Valley for the same reason.

The vines were first planted in 1995, and today the winery includes a large European inspired tasting room which opened in 2005.  Sarah’s the primary winemaker, and she turned out 11,000 gallons in 2008, roughly 4,500 cases of wine.  It’s a true family affair as Galen uses his engineering skills to install and enhance the winemaking equipment.   Serious about their craft, they employ the services of a world-class vineyard consultant.  Humble about their endeavor, the skills and advice they have integrated into their winery from this relationship shows in the wines they produce.

The Wine: Most of the Galen Glen wine is made from their own vineyards, and they specialize in cool climate white wines, though some reds, blends and hybrids are also produced.  Here’s a list of what to expect:

Grüner Veltliner
Gewürztraminer
Riesling
Vidal Blanc
Cabernet Franc
Merlot
Cabernet Sauvignon
Zweigelt
Chambourcin
Cayuga
Steuben

Sarah says that the Grüner Veltliner is her favorite. Grüner is an Austrian grape that makes a very refreshing, medium-bodied white wine with citrus flavors and crisp acidity.  The wine is a refreshing stand-alone summer wine or a great pairing with seafood, shellfish, or spicy foods.

The Fun Factor:  This winery has it! If you are a lover of well made wines and unique varieties not found everywhere in the region, this is a winery not to miss. It is worth the trip as the view of the vineyards is beautiful and as picturesque as any in the region. The tasting room overlooks rows of vines receding down sloping hills, evoking images of the Austrian vineyards that they emulate.  Even their bottling equipment is a Hollywood movie-star (yes, really!) It was purchased from a California winery and was seen in the movie Sideways. The winery is close Hawk Mountain, the tourist hamlet of Jim Thorpe and its restaurants, lodging and shopping, as well as other outdoor activity spots for all seasons.

I also agree with Sarah that the Galen Glen Gruner Veltliner is their best wine.  I found it to be fresh, crisp and fruity with nice acidity.  At worst, it lacked the white pepper that is classic for the variety, but I would absolutely say that it was better than some Gruner’s I’ve had from Austria!  No excuse is necessary for this being a Pennsylvania wine, it’s delicious and well worth the visit.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Rich Sgarra permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:20 pm

    Good stuff Jeff!

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