By Himanee Gupta
For many in Saratoga, the farmers’ market is an easy getaway from our daily tasks. We can snack, sample, and sip; listen to music, and fill our bags with local foods.
The market also can be where we dream of getting away even more. That’s what visiting the booth of Galway Rock Winery did for me as I sampled their wines for the first time.
The Ballston Lake winery is owned by Kate Soldani. She started the winery in 2014 in her parents’ garage in Galway and now offers wines via three brands: Galway Rock, Saratoga Sparkling, and Robinia Hill. The winery uses more than 15 grape varieties from vineyards in Long Island and the Finger Lakes.
Soldani joined the farmers’ market this year.
Unlike many others made in New York, Soldani’s wines are dry and crisp. The reason is simple, says Soldani, who studied biology at SUNY Albany. “The key is to respect the acid and tannin profile of the wine and create wines with balance. New York grapes don’t achieve the huge sugar content of hotter growing regions, so the alcohol level in the finished wine is much more approachable.”
Because of this, the only wines that Soldani sweetens before bottling are her Riesling and Moscatos. “These are the only wines with a high enough acid to have a balance between sweet and sour. All the others are 100 percent dry.”
I prefer wines on the dry side, so my sampling led me to the winery and a vertical tasting event. It consisted of a four-course meal, and each course was paired with two samples: the same wine bottled in two different years. Servers described the food, and Soldani discussed the wines, explaining how shifts in weather and production affected their flavor in the different years.
Soldani also produces sparkling wines, adding carbon dioxide to give them a light Prosecco-style fizzy touch. The Robinia Hill brand comes from grapes owned by her business partner’s vineyard in Skaneateles. Her own winery offers a view of lands that she dreams of filling with her own wine-producing grape vines.
“The true enjoyment comes from sharing our wines with friends, family, customers, and food,” Soldani says. “We simply make wine, and we make wine simply. You can see this in the fun, uncomplicated wines that end up in the bottle.”
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park. Find us online at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.