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Chester County Press

Owners to sell Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery

02/01/2023 10:26AM ● By Richard Gaw

 Photo by Billy Kyle, Atmos Imagery                 The 7.4-acre Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery in Kennett Square is currently up for sale for a listing price of $3.395 million.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

From the time Brad and Lele Galer first opened Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery in Kennett Square in 2011, it has consistently earned a superb reputation for its many gifts, given to those who have come to admire them.

On the slightly tilting canopy of its vineyard, the winery has consistently delivered top-notch varietals that have not only graced the dining room tables of its patrons, but earned the accolades of wine critics and been the recipient of over 150 awards at competitions around the country and the world.

From the rustic design of its interior tasting room to the sweeping views from its outdoor decks, Galer has become one of the county’s premiere destinations for wine and conversation, as well as a major contributor to the emerging wine industry in southeastern Chester County.

“We have always aimed to make Galer homey, artistic and pleasing, so that when you sit down with a glass of wine, it becomes an experience,” said Lele Galer. “We tried a lot of ideas in the beginning, but it always came back to just wanting to create a nice, comfortable place for people to hang out and enjoy good wine.”

Now in its 12th year, and as the quality of winemaking at Galer has fully dovetailed with its quality of experience, the Galers recently put their boutique vineyard and winery up for sale.

Listed for an asking price of $3.395 million, the sale of the winery at 700 Folly Hill Road will include a 7.4-acre property, a four-acre vineyard, tasting room areas, state-of-the-art winemaking technology with temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks and a temperature-controlled barrel room; a garage, event room with fireplace and a residence that was first built in 1700s.

When the Galers first entered into the idea to cultivate grapes on their Pocopson property back in 2005, they were among a short list of wine growers in Chester County.

“Brad looked at the large trees behind our house and told me, ‘With the right strategies and the expertise of the right people, I think we can create a top-notch vineyard here in Pennsylvania,’” Lele said. “It was exciting, but I thought that if we’re planning to grow grapes, we should also consider the possibility of owning a winery.”

Working with viticulturalist Lucie Morton and winemaker John Levenberg, the Galers planted a seven-acre vineyard in Pocopson, and after purchasing the former Folly Hill Winery, they invested four years of renovation to create interior and exterior tasting rooms, a fermentation room, as well as the replanting of grapes on the property.

Under the direction of winemaker and general manager Virginia Mitchell, Galer produces an average of 2,800 cases a year, and has earned high marks for its Cabernet Franc, dry Rosé, and Sparkling Chardonnay.

“Fifteen years ago, the wine industry in Pennsylvania was not what it is today,” Lele said. “Back then, there were only a handful of people in this area who were growing wines with the idea of having them stand up against wines being made in California and France. We now have small producers who are trying it as their passion project, and so many people are growing some wonderful grapes and wines in Chester County. It’s created an entirely new way of how this region looks at wine.

“It’s surprising now that we’re preparing to hand off our winery to someone else, it’s coinciding with a time when that ambition, drive and positive energy is happening all over our region.”

The Galer’s decision to put their winery on the market is one partially of aspirations and necessity. While Lele, a highly-visible and prolific painter and sculptor, is looking to spend more time focusing on her creative efforts (she is also writing a book), Brad’s position as a pharmaceutical executive requires him to be in Boston, where he has an apartment.

“Over time, we just became less and less present owners,” she said. “I love the winery, but I am not there as often as I should be. Once we were able move through the emotional component of letting go of what we have loved for so long, Brad and I both knew that it would be a good thing for both of us.

“We’re both ready for our next chapter, which will not involved running a small business. We are terribly proud of what we and others have accomplished here, but we think that it just seems the right time to hand it to the next person. It’s time for the next person to come in with passion and energy, do their own spin on it, and love it as much as we have.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].