The first vines were planted in 1977 for what would become New England’s largest producer of wine grapes and our next stop on The Coastal Wine Trail. Aquidneck Island, home to Newport Vineyards, has a long, fruitful history of agriculture dating back to before the pilgrims.
Sitting on a hill in the middle of the island, Newport Vineyards takes full advantage of the perfect micro-climate growing eight varieties of wine grapes. The Gulf Stream brings warm waters from the south while Narragansett Bay buffers the fields from early winter frosts. This creates a long, placid growing season perfect for producing award-winning wines.
The Wines at Newport Vineyards
Wines such as their signature semi-dry Riesling which won Best of Show in 2008 at the Jefferson Cup Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. This Riesling has an essential tropical fruit bouquet with a distinct New England minerality and delicate melon flavors on the tongue.
Also award winners last year in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition were their 2014 Great White and 2014 Pinot Gris. The easy-pairing Great White is a blend of their estate Riesling, Cayuga White, and Vidal grapes which won Gold with its apricot and honeydew flavors. The cheerfully dry Pinot Gris won Best of Category. Taste these showstoppers and more in Newport’s newly renovated tasting room.
Newport’s perfect blending of its past and present are artfully displayed upon entering. Contemporary barrel-like pendant lights gleam in the polished stained cement floor.
To the right The Marketplace showcases organic bath products and gifts alongside award-winning vintages in weathered wooden cases and atop gently used wine barrels. On the far wall to the right of the red metal Nunes Motor Co. Sign lies the entrance to Brix, the winery’s fine-dining restaurant.
After purchasing a tasting in The Marketplace, continue toward the vineyards into the bright, open Tasting Room. At the Vineyard Cafe they serve up a locally-sourced menu pairing perfectly with any of their 30 wines.
Do not miss the Vidal Ice Wine. The grapes are left on the vines until the 3rd hard frost then harvested and pressed frozen. This allows the sweetest, most concentrated juice to be expressed. The peachy aroma and fruity flavors of the Vidal grape create a succulent wine that pairs well with dark chocolate and tangy fruit.
Windows to the far right of the Tasting Room allow guests to watch the workings of the Tank Room.
For a closer look, tours are giving daily at 1pm and 3 pm. Industrial garage doors roll up to expand the Tasting Room onto the patio and right up the vineyard. In addition to the covered patio, you will find benches and tables placed throughout the vines, ideal for a picnic.
Producing more than 20,000 cases of wine a year, Newport Vineyards has firmly established itself as a promontory destination in Rhode Island and along the Coastal Wine Trail. Visit www.newportvineyards.com for news and upcoming events.
Follow the complete Coastal Wine Trail series at The Rooted Gypsy on Miles Geek.