Galer names Mitchell as new winemaker

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Virginia Smith Mitchell

Named as third-ever winemaker at award-winning Chester County winery

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery announced this week that it has has hired a new Winemaker, Virginia Smith Mitchell, to continue the management of their award-winning wines.

She joins Galer with an extensive and diverse history in the wine making industry.

Mitchell was the Assistant Winemaker at Mazza Vineyards in North East, Pennsylvania, which is the largest winery in the state, producing over 35,000 cases of wine every year.  Mitchell graduated from Penn State’s Food Science Program while completing an extensive internship at Mazza. 

Following a harvest season in Australia at Two Hands Wines in the Barossa Valley, she then joined Mazza Vineyards  as the Assistant Winemaker, and has now moved on to Galer Estate as Winemaker.  At Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery,Virginia will oversee Galer Estate’s boutique production of 2900 cases of wine, which has garnered much national attention in the past three years.

Mitchell said she looks forward to being Galer Estate’s new Winemaker.

“As an internationally award winning boutique winery, Galer Estate has proven that high quality wines can be produced in Pennsylvania,” she said. “I came into winemaking knowing that I want to make distinctive and expressive wines, and joining Galer will allow me to do that.  I am really excited to be part of their successful team, and I am glad to make our new home here in Chester County.”

June has been a whirlwind for Mitchell, who after accepting the job at Galer Estate, moved to Chester County, got married to her fiancé Chase, had her honeymoon in the wine country of Virginia, and then started to work the next day.

Brad and Lele Galer said they are “absolutely thrilled” to welcome Mitchell to the Galer Estate team. After interviews with several candidates, the meeting with Virginia was very brief, they said.

“Virginia shares our same dedication and passion for making high quality wines. Plus she came incredibly highly recommended, is really nice, and makes a knockout Rosé!” says co owner Lele Galer. “We really didn’t have much of an interview. It was more, ‘when can you start’?” This July 4th will also be a “Welcome to Virginia” evening at Galer Estate where everyone will be invited to raise a glass of 2013 Rosé in her honor.

Galer is a small boutique winery that aims to produce the highest quality wines possible using a combination of best of the “old world” practices with the best in “new world” modern technology.  Started in 2007, owners  Brad and Lele Galer employed world renowned consultants to help create state of the art vineyards and wine making facility. Viticulture consultant Lucy Morton worked with Jan Grimes to develop the two Galer Estate vineyards which include, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Petit Verdot and Albariño  grape varietals. Winemaking consultant John Levenberg worked with architects and engineers to create the two-level gravity flow winery with custom designed steel fermentation tanks and French oak barrels.

Mitchell will be the third winemaker at Galer Estate which has won over 60 national awards since opening its doors in 2011.

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