June 30, 2019, Galen Glen Field Trip Remembered by Marty Cook
The day was an incredibly beautiful Sunday morning, with a cloudless robin egg blue sky, a gentle breeze to buffer any specter of heat and humidity and the sounds of songbirds chirping in the background. It was in this peaceful slice of rural America, high atop a precipice surrounded by a landscape of vineyards covering the adjacent hillsides, and an extended panorama of endless forests blanketing the valley below, that our group of 41 wine enthusiasts came together to look at, hear about, and taste what is Galen Glen Winery.
The Troxell family and their devoted staff did not disappoint, and a day of tours through the vineyards and production facilities at Galen Glen Winery concluded with exquisitely crafted wines from mostly cooler climate grapes of Austrian and German origin. Who could have imagined the quality and delicate nature of the wines that awaited us in the glassed-in vista of the Galen Glen tasting room? Our senses were met by wines of incredible floral aromas, distinctive minerality, and clean crispness!
The size of our group dictated how the day’s activities were orchestrated. The first 20 people to arrive were boarded onto a long flatbed wagon lined with two lengthy church pews that easily accommodated 20 riders. This wagon was towed gradually through the vineyard as Erin Troxell delivered a rather knowledgeable question and answer session about Galen Glen’s vineyards. Erin specializes in Viticulture, with an undergraduate degree in Enology & Viticulture from Cornell and a Masters in Viticulture earned in Germany. The tractor was thankfully rather quiet while Erin commanded a clear and easily heard speaking voice during her interactive lecture. After a long ride that descended 180 feet to the winery’s production facility, everyone disembarked for the second leg of the tour where Galen held forth on all topics Galen Glen, from family history to the machinations of bringing the harvest into the crush pad for processing. Then, we went inside the winery’s production facility to view everything from the tanks to the bottling line.
As the first group of 20 stepped through the tour, the second group of 20 arrivals was back at the tasting room where they were treated to a variety of ten wines from the tasting sheet. The menu of wines covered the gamut of cooler climate wines such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, and Zweigelt. These wines were supplemented with other wines made with grapes such as Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, and Cabernet Franc. Most of the wines were dry to medium-dry, with some offerings of sweet wines made with Niagara grapes and fruits such as raspberries.
At the conclusion of the tour by the first group of 20, they returned to the tasting room and switched places with the second group who headed for the flatbed wagon for their tour while the first group headed for the tasting bar.
When the touring and tasting was behind us, nearly everyone headed for the picnic facility located directly adjacent to the tasting room facility, whereupon they enjoyed the picnic lunches that they had packed for the occasion.
Please allow me a brief word about our 41 participants, all of whom, and quite amazingly, arrived before the 10:00 am start time that had been established for the day’s program to commence. I say, “amazingly” because the day’s events were coordination efforts between four wine-related groups that comprised our compliment of 41 attendees and the staff and management of Galen Glen Winery. My biggest fear that the day would become a struggle akin to herding cats was thankfully never realized!
In addition to fourteen (14) members of the Susquehanna Winemakers Guild and the four (4) guests that they brought, we were joined by ten (10) members of the Lancaster Chapter of the American Wine Society, eight (8) members of the York PA Wine Lovers Club, and five (5) members of the Bellevue Park Wine Tasters. I am a member of all of these organizations and I felt that potential synergy exists between SWiG and these groups. I will have more to share about that in the very near future. Suffice it to say that segments of the membership from all four groups thoroughly enjoyed their participation in our Galen Glen Winery event. And, for those who missed the event, I can only urge that you make plans to visit Galen Glen Winery in the very near future. The setting alone is worth the drive, let alone the world-class wines that you will enjoy upon your arrival!