PA Vines & Wines: Galen Glen

What happens when a chemist, a farmer and an engineer walk into a Pennsylvania microclimate? You get some world-class wine. The Troxell family of Galen Glen Winery in Schuylkill County combine just the right ingredients for award-winning, internationally recognized wines.

Galen Glen Winery summer of riesling vineyard

Galen Troxell, for whom Galen Glen is named, is a sixth-generation farmer with a background in mechanical engineering. His wife, Sarah Troxell, is a former chemist turned winemaker whose accolades include winning best woman winemaker at the International Women’s Wine Competition in Sonoma. Their daughter, Erin, earned a master’s degree in viticulture and enology in France and Germany. Together, the three are a true powerhouse in the winemaking industry.

Galen Glen Winery Sarah and Erin Troxell

Sarah and Erin Troxell of Galen Glen

We spoke with Sarah and Erin Troxell about the wines of Galen Glen, the ideal conditions of their Lehigh Valley location, and how they create special opportunities for their guests to enjoy.

PA Eats: Your family combines backgrounds in farming, engineering and chemistry into winemaking and Erin is the 7th generation farming the land of your winery. Can you tell us about what the previous generations farmed, and what first pulled you into the winemaking venture?

Sarah Troxell: Prior to us acquiring the farm, many different crops were grown here. Each generation had its own addition to what the farm produced.

Erin Troxell: There was a very diverse amount of agriculture over those 200 years. It was a self-sustaining farm. They produced all of their own livestock for meat, fruits and vegetables for canning and freezing and row crops to support the livestock. At one point, it had a very large dairy farm. The fourth generation introduced major fruit production to the farm. That’s most relevant to our transition to a vineyard. My great-grandfather, John, introduced an orchard with all kinds of apples, peaches and pears. He had honeybees as well for lots of honey production. He was responsible for building our stone cellar because the family farmed a lot of potatoes as well. We had a cellar we transitioned to become the first wine cellar. From an agricultural standpoint, you can’t store apples and potatoes together because of the gasses they would produce leading to rot, so John built a separate cellar, which we turned into our wine cellar. 

Sarah: One of Galen’s first jobs was headquartered in Germany. I would accompany him to central Germany and that looked very much like our land here. Everyone thinks that that’s the inspiration, but it’s not. His friend sent us a bottle of wine from Hawaii, and that was the spark. The combination of the wine from Hawaii and the trips to Germany made us think about opening a winery. In the meantime, Galen’s father kept asking if we wanted to buy the farm. At the time, we were living in Douglasville and commuting to Chester County, about an hour and a half from our farm. There was a lot to think about with moving and raising a family. 

Galen Glen Winery gruner veltliner vineyard post vines grapes

Can you tell us about the microclimate of your area, between Allentown and Jim Thorpe, how that’s created, and how that affects your grapes and winemaking?

Erin: We are between two ridges of the Appalachians, so we have a natural rain shadow. We very, very often do not receive summer rainfall that they receive in the southern part of the Lehigh Valley and to the east of us in Jim Thorpe. So, it’s very beneficial to the vineyard. Our soils are also tremendously rocky. We have upwards of 75% shale content. All of our soil was glacially formed and deposited. 

Galen Glen Winery tasting room 2002 view vineyard Lehigh Valley

Sarah: The second part of our name, “glen,” refers to the shape of our property. We’re a sloped vineyard with elevation; two key factors. With elevation, we extend our season and, with a  slope, the cool air functions like a liquid and spills off our site. Even though we’re north of the Lehigh Valley, we can miss both the early and the late frost. Also, our view is approximately 20 miles from our vineyard. It’s a very pretty piece of property that we’re always delighted to share. 

Galen Glen Winery wines riesling guwerztraminer gruner veltliner

Can you tell us about the wines in your portfolio?

Sarah: We are known for aromatic white wines. Our Gruner Veltliner is America’s second-oldest planting of that grape. It’s 21 years old, as our first Gruner vines were planted in 2003. That wine was challenging to learn about, and now we’re very passionate about it. Galen Glen produces three Gruners: Stone Cellar, single vineyard and the best vintages, Vinology, our signature wine produced every year, and Gruner with Envy, an easy-drinking, lower-alcohol wine that’s perfect for lunch and with salads. Erin’s debut wines are a Gruner Veltliner Sparkling & a Riesling Sparkling, under her label Erin Elizabeth. We have four-and-a-half Rieslings, since one is a blend, and Gewurztraminer. For reds, we have Cabernet Franc and a red blend that includes two challenging vineyard varieties that are a lot of work.

Erin: Our vineyard has 10 varieties. We’ve pioneered German and Austrian varieties because of our soil and climate. My parents purchased Zweigelt and Cabernet Dorsa, which are in the Red German Bastard, probably our signature red wine. 

Galen Glen Winery Erin Troxell

How do you stay sharp as winemakers?

Sarah: Galen and I were just in Germany and Austria to meet with some of the most prestigious winemakers in Europe. Erin also travels. She was in Champagne because she’s working on developing a sparkling style. We like to go to the regions where people are icons in the industry. 

Galen Glen Winery April 2024 Three 3 Seed Tasting Red German Bastard wine

What kind of experience do you want your guests and consumers to have? What brings people back?

Sarah:  Erin has developed a series of classes called Master Class, which are very popular and have a huge following. They feature topics, varieties, regions and so on, as aligned and contrasted with our wine.

Erin: We have a new expansion on our tasting room with a special classroom for these classes. It’s a fairly private experience. I do two or three sessions, once a month. They feature the wines plus small pairings. One Master Class is about the wines of Bridgerton; wines they drink or wines you drink while watching the show. For the classes in the summer, I like to have fun themes and topics. That’s a busy tourism time for Jim Thorpe and Hawk Mountain, so I’ll do three sessions in an afternoon. 

That’s something I offer once per month, and year-round we are open for tastings. We have a large patio on the back of the tasting room overlooking the vineyards where guests can sit outside and enjoy wine. People come to experience the view and the property, and to taste wine. 

Sarah: We do some food trucks and Erin’s done a collaborative class with a local cheesemaker, too. A little mix of everything. We don’t do music. You come here to have a conversation, unplug and relax. We just had a wine dinner, and someone was saying it was astoundingly quiet and peaceful. That’s how it always is!

Galen Glen Winery Sparkling Gruner Veltliner Erin Elizabeth Troxell

What’s on the horizon for Galen Glen?

Sarah: We made the base wine for a sparkling. Sparkling wine is a commitment with the future. Erin has created a pink sparkling wine with one of the grapes from the Red German Bastards. That’s long-distance planning. 

Erin: In addition to the Gewurztraminer, we planted a Dijon Clone Chardonnay. 

Sarah: We operate like our European colleagues. If it comes from here, you have to wait. Everything is grown on our farm, so everything is a long game. It’s not fast. From our original plantings of Gruner Veltliner, we’ve always planned far ahead. 

Galen Glen Winery riesling wine

To enjoy the wines of Galen Glen Winery, head to its tasting room or a special event at 255 Winter Mountain Dr., Andreas, phone: (570) 386-3682. You can find Galen Glen on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for its newsletter to stay tuned into all its happenings. 

The PA Vines & Wines series was created in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Wine Association with Round 8, Act 39 grant funding from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB).

PA Wines

The Pennsylvania Winery Association (PWA) is a trade association that markets and advocates for the limited licensed wineries in Pennsylvania. 


  • Photos: Galen Glen