Saratoga County wine lovers will have a brand-new way of trying some of New York State’s top wines this weekend. Galway Rock Vineyard & Winery, on Saratoga Road in Ballston Lake, will be celebrating the grand opening of its brand-new tasting room this Saturday, June 22. Though a private ribbon-cutting was held on June 20, this weekend will be the public’s first chance to soak in the flavor of the winery’s relaxing, new tasting space. “It has a beautiful patio that overlooks the mountains of Vermont,” says Kate Taylor, who co-owns the winery with her father, Vincent Soldani Jr., and husband, Ryan Taylor.
Although the local winemakers have been open in their Ballston Lake location since last November, Galway Rock’s tasting room was previously a much smaller setup in the middle of the actual winery. “We had a temporary tasting room while our second building was being renovated,” says Taylor. “So we’re really excited about this grand opening.” Galway Rock specializes in producing New York wines with grapes from Long Island, the Finger Lakes region, as well as right here in the Saratoga area. “New York has a great climate for growing wine,” says Taylor. “They’re cooler climate wines, but you can get some amazing whites as well as some really nice, light reds.”
Guests to the new tasting room will be able to try all of Galway Rock’s current offerings, including its signature Galway Rock table wines (red, white and rosé), and their brand of sparkling wines made prosecco-style and sold under the name Saratoga Sparkling Co. (sparking blanc and sparkling rosé). The Ballston Lake winery is also teaming up with Robinia Hill Vineyard in Skaneateles, NY, to offer a line of Cabernet Franc wines in the near future. “The wine that we focus on is made in small batches, and there’s a lot of attention to detail,” says Taylor. “We have a really hands-on and family-friendly vibe here.” Additionally, the tasting room will offer a small variety of local craft beers and liquor, signature cheese boards and creative “winetails,” cocktails made with Galway Rock wine, such as the raspberry cream mimosa, made with raspberry sorbet, fresh raspberries and sparkling blanc.
Galway Rock, like many small businesses, came from some fairly humble beginnings. “My husband and I literally started this business in my parents’ garage,” says Taylor. Both Kate and Ryan Taylor shared a passion for winemaking and met working at a winery in Illinois. “After we did that for a couple of years, we said, ‘Let’s do this ourselves,'” says Taylor. The husband-and-wife duo moved back home to Upstate New York and teamed up with Kates’ father, starting a tiny micro-winery in his garage in Galway. “We were there for five years until we couldn’t possibly move around anymore,” says Taylor. So the trio of budding winemakers began looking for a place to grow into and eventually found what would become the winery’s current location in Ballston Lake.
Though the vineyard isn’t producing its own grapes yet, Taylor says she plans to have a vineyard planted by next spring. Sixty-eight acres of farmland lie directly behind the winery, offering the potential to grow a large number of grape varietals right on site. As for other future plans, Taylor says the new tasting room will also offer lots of live music and what she calls “edu-tainment,” fun and enriching events such as a wine and crafts night, “UnWined” yoga classes (an hour of yoga with wine relaxation afterward) and a harvest festival in the fall.
Speaking of events, guests to Saturday’s grand opening, which runs from 12-6pm, will enjoy live music provided by local jazz favorites the Take Two Trio, in addition to delicious hors d’oeuvres catered by The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Albany. And, of course, there’ll be a captivating selection of house-made New York wines, all in Galway Rock’s sunny and spacious new tasting room.