“The best part of my job is seeing the smile of a returning customer,” says Patrick Galloway, Wine Specialist at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits store in Newtown, PA, “I know the wine we selected together helped make a conversation, a meal, or a special evening even more memorable.”
Galloway is a Pennsylvania native, having grown up in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, and has worked for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) since 2010.
How did you get interested in wine and decide to take this career path?
While learning management duties for Fine Wine & Good Spirits in Fairless Hills, I took advantage of the expansive wine training classes available to employees. At the same time, a brand new store was constructed in our shopping center. The new store expanded its Chairman’s Selection program, which opened me up to world-class wines that fit my budget. The more I learned about the grapes, the farmers, the land, and the history, the more I wanted to expand my knowledge.
When an opportunity arose to interview for a Wine Specialist position in Newtown, an area I already had a great affinity for, I learned as much as I could in preparation. Now, after landing the position and growing into it for the past few years, I’ve discovered that preparation never ends. To me, it’s a feature, not a bug of the job, and possibly the greatest allure of wine itself — figuring out the magic found in the meeting of a near-infinite number of complex factors in a single glass.
What is your advice for someone new to exploring local wines?
There is simply no substitute for experiencing a new wine on your own. When it comes to local wine, there’s no excuse. Get out there, start drinking, be safe, and have fun.
As for figuring out where to start, your local Wine Specialist can help. We have information aplenty and can easily assist you in finding the best wineries near you. Most people are surprised just how close many of these quality producers are to their homes. Pennsylvania wine country has been stepping up its collective game for years, providing perfect excuses for weekend day trips.
What local varietals would you recommend for a west coast or European wine drinker?
If you’re a fan of Napa or Bordeaux reds, there are some beautiful PA options for Cabernet Franc and Meritage blends.
Traditional white wine lovers would almost certainly appreciate the wide range of lovely Chardonnay, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer produced locally as well.
For Pinot Noir fanatics, the similarly-weighted Chambourcin, a hybrid grape, has found a home all across Pennsylvania.
With the holidays coming up, customers will be thinking about holiday meals. What would you suggest as an unexpected Pennsylvania wine pairing for Thanksgiving dishes and other hearty holiday fare?
To those looking for a crisp local white to pair with their holiday meals, I would recommend the hybrid grapes Traminette and Vignoles — you can find both sweet and dry styles made in different areas of the state.
My personal favorite for Thanksgiving is an elegant red, and Chambourcin fits the bill.
As for those heartier dishes, local Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon typically have the structure to stand up to starch-driven meals, while delivering enough floral and fruity characteristics to bring out the best in your holiday favorites.
In the spirit of keeping things local, do you have favorite local meats, cheeses, or other foods that you enjoy pairing with specific PA wines?
One thing I try to never take for granted is the fact that I live in one of the most interesting areas on earth. From the varying soil types and geography to the diverse customs interwoven in our cultural fabric, to the incredible history that still lives in the traditions and attitudes we pride ourselves in, this is just a downright fantastic place to eat, drink, and be merry.
Cheesesteaks and stromboli are hometown favorites of mine, along with the different styles of tomato pie made all around Philadelphia. I love to pair these with medium- to full-bodied reds. If you’re keeping with the local mood, Clover Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is a winner.
Pepper Pot Soup, a spicy stew made from tripe, vegetables, and loads of pepper that was created during the harsh winter at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War, is a beloved local dish that goes extremely well with white wines boasting a touch of sweetness. Paradocx Vineyard PDX Twine Tea Infused Wine is a bold pair here, but one I encourage.
What are your favorite PA budget, mid-range, and special occasion wines?
A budget wine that jumps out to me is the sweet white Chaddsford Niagara ($11.49). Red wine fans looking to try something new in the mid-priced range could opt for the Crossing Vineyards Chocolate Cherry Truffle ($22.99). When money is no object, or at least you’re pretending it’s not, I’d recommend springing for the Karamoor Estate Meritage ($34.99).
What are your go-to local suggestions for the following varieties from your store?
Dry Red: Merlot
Dry White: Vidal Blanc
Spicy Red: Chambourcin
Sweeter White: Vignoles
Fruit-Forward White: Riesling
Dessert Wine: Mead
You can meet Patrick at the following Fine Wine & Good Spirits:
Fine Wine & Good Spirits
Premium Collection Store #0943
212 S State St.
Newtown, PA 18940