While Newport is known for mansions, sailing and seafood, it also has a growing wine industry that often is overlooked by tourists. Newport wines should be high on the must-taste list.
A particular standout among Rhode Island wineries is Newport Vineyards, which is located in nearby Middletown. Brother vintners John Nunes and Paul Nunes have the philosophy to preserve their grapes’ natural character and they encourage visitors and natives alike to “taste the local color.”
The 60-acre vineyard on preserved farmland originally was purchased by their great-grandfather, Francisco Nunes, during 1917. The winery features wine tastings, a tour of the vines, a demonstration of the wine-making process and a gift shop of wine-related items.
Of course, their stock is available for sale. Wine also can be shipped, but consult with the experts as Rhode Island wine can not be shipped to certain states.
Newport Vineyards also offers a free lifetime Case Club. Members receive a 10 percent discount on the first case that is ordered, 15 percent on the second, 17 percent for the third and 20 percent on the fourth case and any additional cases. A case can include a mix of any 12 bottles.
Some of the featured wines include:
White wines: Newport Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Newport Riesling.
Red Wines: Gemini Rochambeau, Cabernet Franc, Newport Merlot.
Dessert wines also are available and the Port is highly recommended. It is a blend of vintages dating back over a decade and made in the classic Portuguese ruby red port style. It’s food pairings include Stilton cheese, chocolate and nuts, but some fans also have it with meat and pasta dishes since it has such a great taste.
Don’t forget to try the Rhody Coyote Hard Apple Cider, which was named after a Middletown male coyote. It is a proprietary blend of fresh Rhode Island apples. The juice is cold fermented to a fine sparkle for quick bottling. Best served when it is chilled.
Newport Vineyards is located at 909 East Main Road (Route 138) in Middletown, about 10 minutes from downtown Newport.
[Images: Mike Virgintino]