About 15 minutes outside downtown Galena is one of the town’s major attractions: Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery. I decided to stop in for a tasting and tour after a late lunch and found it to be a lot of fun, although very crowded. It was too late in the season (and much too dark!) for vineyard tours, but I was still able to take a tour of the premises and learn the history of the company.
For just a few dollars, I was able to taste six wines of my choosing. While the Frontenac Port and Muscat Canelli were definitely not to my liking (too strong and too sweet!), I was pleasantly surprised by the Oktoberfest and Merry Merry Cranberry. White wine is not usually a favorite of mine, but perhaps the name “Oktoberfest” just made me feel festive. It made me feel like I should sip it after taking my dog for a walk on a crisp fall day, while wearing a wool sweater and crunching yellow and orange leaves.
I was surprised by the Merry Merry Cranberry because it did not taste like a wine at all- it tasted like sparkling cranberry juice. It is rare that I enjoy a carbonated beverage, but this particular wine (complete with a Santa label) put this cranberry-loving Grinch in the Christmas spirit after the first sip.
After my tasting, I enjoyed more free wine (the American Reisling) and listened to the history of the company and took a tour of the various buildings on the property. By the time the tour was over, our guide had opened three more bottles of wine, and this designated driver had to be careful not to consume too much.
Galena Cellars has three locations in downtown Galena, downtown Geneva and the vineyard in the Jo Daviess countryside outside Galena.