Before returning to upstate New York to found the Galway Rock Vineyard and Winery, Kate garnered years of experience in the wine industry to hone her winemaking skills. As the president of our farm winery and unchallenged leader of the Taylor family, she is the ultimate decider tasked with managing overall business and family operations. Though being the grand poobah seems glorious to the untrained eye, Kate deals on a daily basis with headache-inducing compliance work, tedious financial management, and navigating life with a family that includes an unruly-haired husband, two young daughters (one of which may be possessed), and a three-legged farm cat with an overly-developed sense of entitlement. Naturally, someone with such responsibilities enjoys a nice glass of wine from time to time.
Raised in an Irish-Italian family that celebrated wine as the nectar of life coupled with a love of biological sciences, it is little wonder that Kate chose the winemaker path in life. What began as a weekly drinking club with the ladies called Champagne Thursday, she progressed into making hobbyist kits that culminated with the production of 300 bottles as gifts to her wedding guests.
Shortly thereafter Kate’s professional career was launched. Originally volunteering as an unpaid laborer with Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery, she was quickly promoted to assistant winemaker in recognition of her dedication, intelligence, and work ethic. Under the tutelage of Michael Migliore, Kate developed her winemaking skills and took a prominent role in crafting several award-winning wines. After a string of successes, Kate struck out on her own to become the head winemaker of Kickapoo Creek Winery, a small family-owned organization in Edwards, IL.
Coinciding with the expansion of our family with the birth of our first daughter, Pepper Ann, we decided this was the appropriate time to begin a new journey in our professional lives – the creation of our own family operation, the Galway Rock Vineyard & Winery. We invite you to join us on this ride and enjoy some amazing wine!
Ryan has always maintained an appreciation for the complexity of plants and passion for growing them. As a low-cost hobby to provide stress relief and a cheap source of healthy nutrition while earning a graduate degree, he continued to grow progressively larger gardens that moved him from the realm of amateur hobbyist to market gardener. Always the scientist and engineer, Ryan turned his attention to experimenting with hydroponics to gain ever-increasing efficiencies with his crop production methods.
After years of tinkering, Ryan started a horticulture business that delved into several aspects of the industry: market gardening with hydroponic and organic methods, manufacturing hobbyist growing systems for retail sales, and offering consulting services to local growers and product testing for larger companies. As his cumulative knowledge and experience grew, he became a recognized expert in the field and began writing feature articles and a monthly column for the international hydroponics trade magazine Maximum Yield.
Running parallel to these developments, Ryan began tagging along with Kate to work in the vineyards at the wineries where she worked. Over time he began considering grapevines to be the most interesting set of species in the plant kingdom. Naturally he researched the idea of combining hydroponics with viticulture and discovered little effort had been made on this front either scientifically or practically. For the past few years, Ryan has continued to manage and expand traditional vineyard holdings while working in consultation with university professors in the United States and research farmers in Italy to wed hydroponic production methods with viticulture.