Eastern Pa. Winery goes on the market for $3.395 million
Yes, Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery it is for sale.
No, it is not closed, as owner Lele Galer wanted to point out during a telephone conversation on Sunday.
“Oh my God, the gossip for the last three months has been, ‘Oh, it’s closed.’ No. We’re open. We’re open,” said Lele, who has owned the winery with her husband Brad since May 2008 for $1 million and, after extensive renovations, opened it in 2011.
The boutique winery, vineyard and Airbnb adjacent to Longwood Gardens, all on 7.4 acres, went on sale last week for an asking price of $3.395 million. It is located at 700 Folly Hill Road in Kennett Square, Chester County.
Lele said there were a few factors that led to the decision, starting with her husband, a pharmaceutical executive, who recently took a job in Boston.
“For probably 15 years he’s been commuting,” she said. “He was commuting to California and. before that, Toronto. But that would only be for a few days every few weeks. But now he had to find an apartment in Boston. He will go there more often. It doesn’t really do anything with the winery, but it kind of ties our hands on whether, in fact, we should move to New England or not.
Their journey to ownership began in 2005, using the expertise of internationally renowned winemaker Lucie Morton and the direction of Jan Grimes to plant a 7-acre vineyard at their home in Pocopson, Chester County. Grimes continues to work there as vineyard manager. Several years later they purchased Folly Hill Winery and began a rebuilding plan adding a fermentation room, an art-inspired tasting room, a French oak barrel room in addition to replanting the vineyard there. .
John Levenberga winemaker who has worked for a number of Eastern wineries in addition to similar positions in California and abroad and currently operates The Wine Collective in suburban Baltimore, designed the winery.
It was already a property with a location – just behind Longwood Gardens and a short drive from Routes 1 and 202 – and history.
According to the winery specifications that accompany the business listing, the main building includes a pre-American Revolution house with an additional facade that was added later. This house was once used by British General William Howe after the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. A Chester County Historical Society sign notes these historic roots.
Over the centuries that followed, the structure had many uses, including as a hunting lodge which was frequented by baseball legend Babe Ruth.
Although there is enough space around the bar to accommodate visitors, what made this place a treasure to visit was the whole room outside, from the refurbished main deck and auxiliary deck that existed next to the tasting room to another deck they had built from an event space. called the Red Lion Room. Additionally, the back of the winery features a grassy area with a mix of fire pits and Adirondack chairs that provided visitors with a wide view of the vineyard stretching away from the property.
This 4 acre parcel was originally split between Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. But in a few years they would rip out the Cabernet Sauvignon and leave behind the multiple Chardonnay vine clones they could source for their oaked and unoaked still wines and a sparkling version of the grape.
Lele blamed management costs for making the decision last year to ditch the “original vineyard” and rely much more on surrounding growers to source grapes from.
“I’m sure you’ve seen it. There are a lot of good winemakers now, and there weren’t 15 years ago,” she said. “We make good wine, so we are lucky to have good relations with the [local] winegrowers. Still, she said, the decision was a “very fundamental change from what we originally planned. It was there that we had our Cab Franc, our Gruner, our Vidal, and Petit Verdot as a mixer. It was sad [to let that happen].”
Galer Estate wines have won around 150 regional, national and international awards, according to the website, and in terms of reputation, the producer was best known for its Chardonnays. The winery produces around 2,800 cases per year, depending on spec, with its wines selling for between $20 and $40.
Virginia Mitchell was the winemaker since 2014; today, she is also the general manager. She replaced the original winemaker Catrina North, who left in 2014 to work at Crow Vineyard and Winery on the east coast of Maryland before and now works for Jackson Family Wines in California.
Lisa Yakulis of Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty has the Galer Estate listing.
There are two other aspects of the cellar worth noting:
- According to the realtor, there is a separate, internationally renowned Airbnb one-bedroom apartment on the property that has been featured in national and international magazines, built from a building that was once an icehouse and then a garage, overlooking the vineyard.
- Writing about the winery should include a mention of all the work Lele has done to raise awareness of the local arts community. An artist herself, she told the Philadelphia Business Journal – which brought the Galer Estate story to market for the first time – that she designed the space, salvaging historic architectural elements to give the winery a mix of Old and New World design . These included a door from an old bank, stained glass and large doors from a castle in France in addition to the marble of the steps of Independence Hall.
Lele told PennLive they would just like to hand over the place to someone who can provide new energy.
“We just feel like we’ve done what we set out to achieve,” she said, “and we’re happy that a new owner is jumping in with new ideas and enjoying them as much as we do.
“We really like it. I mean, we don’t, like, oh, wow, we didn’t do this or that,” she said. “We were really happy about it.”