As summer wraps up and we begin preparing for fall weather, Galena Cellars begins gearing up for their busiest time of the year, harvest season at the vineyard. In just a few short months, the hard work of the harvest season will be aging in barrel, waiting to be prepared for bottling and by next year the release of the 2018 vintage!
Winemaker Chris Lawlor-White stated “Yields this year are lower than normal, which promotes more flavor and concentration. Normally we have to thin the vines (cut off excess fruit) but this year Mother Nature has done it for us so we expect an excellent vintage.”
“We have been in close contact with our growers in the tri-state area to monitor the ripening and quality of this year’s harvest,” added Assistant Winemaker Eric White. “As the grapes ripen, they will be hand harvested in the early hours of the morning and brought to our winery for processing. It is important that the grapes remain cold so that they do not lose juice or begin fermenting prior to being in the tank.”
Did you know that all Galena Cellars estate grown grapes are picked by hand and cluster sorted? This is the way Galena Cellars has always done it with the motto “Hard work and passion always pay off.”
“Galena Cellars has always been steeped in tradition in many ways, but there is just something very rewarding about the age-old method of picking and sorting grapes by hand at harvest,” said Chris. “The main advantage is that we can control that only the healthiest bunches of grapes are being picked and, of course, the gentler handling of the grapes themselves is important, as opposed to using mechanical harvesting.”
This is an especially exciting harvest at Galena Cellars with Chris Lawlor’s son, Eric White, having returned from working at esteemed Napa Valley wineries, is ready for his first harvest at Galena Cellars. Additionally, Galena Cellars has purchased new state of the art wine processing equipment to help continue evolving the quality of their winemaking. “Our goal is to produce the wines you know and love while keeping an open mind to produce new varietals and styles of wine,” said Eric.
It is little wonder that this small Illinois Vineyard and Winery has become one of Illinois’ most award-winning wineries.
This year alone, Galena Cellars laid claim to some of the highest awards:
• Governor’s Cup Award at the 2018 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition for their Secret Garden La Crescent
• Best Midwest Wine at the 2018 Best of the Midwest Wine Competition for their Secret Garden Edelweiss
• Best of Class at the 2018 Indy International Wine Competition for their Honey Mead.
A total of twenty-seven medals were brought home to Galena Cellars so far this competition season.
Galena Cellars will soon celebrate the hard work of the 2018 harvest season with their 9th Annual Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 29 from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the vineyard on 4746 North Ford Rd., just six miles outside of Galena.
The day promises to be full of family-friendly activities, live music from The Good Guys, wine tastings and vineyard tours, horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin painting for the younger crowd, and much more. Area artists will also be showing and selling their handmade wares. Unique food options are being made available by the Galena Elks Club and Holliberri Icelandics (lamb).
Highlighting the day is the festival’s annual grape stomp, which draws contestants of all ages and some very creative grape stomping techniques. Pre-registration begins at 1:00 p.m.; the stomp starts at 2:00 p.m.
For more information about upcoming Galena Cellars events, visit www.GalenaCellars.com. Don’t forget to mark your calendar as the town of Galena celebrates the 34th Annual release of the much anticipated Nouveau Wine taking place November 16-17.