Newport Vineyards & Winery in Middletown, RI
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Middletown, RI - Newport Vineyards is a small winery located on East Main Road in Middletown, Rhode Island. The business is owned and operated by an eighth generation Rhode Island Family. Brothers Paul and John Nunes are committed to hard work, agriculture and the open space it provides and, most of all, to the production of quality wines produced with Rhode Island sunshine.
Newport Vineyards consists of 50 acres of vines. The property is situated on Aquidneck Island, about 2 miles from the Ocean. The vineyard is close enough to the water for protection from October frosts yet far enough away to avoid fog and to gain thermal heat from the land. The Nunes brothers consider themselves lucky to have a constant sea breeze which keeps the vines dry and protects them from fungal diseases and heavy frost.
The soil on which the vines grow is a deep, silty loam which drains moderately well. It retains enough moisture to not need irrigation during the hot summer months.
Paul, the vineyard manager believes that the best wine comes from a combination of quality soil, a favorable climate and meticulously managed vines. His approach to viticulture involves constant monitoring of plant and soil health in order to allow the vines to grow and produce as naturally as possible. Maintaining plant and soil health also means production without excess pesticides or fertilizers.
He manages the vineyard canopy in a way that maximizes airflow through the leaves. This minimizes fungal disease pressure. More, he removed the leaves which shade the fruit clusters in late summer to allow maximum sunlight to fall directly onto the grapes. This ripens them to optimal sweetness.
Grapes are harvested throughout October and early November. Winter months are spent pruning the vines and constructing a solid trellis system for the upcoming system.
Winemaker George Chelf employees traditional techniques along with modern tools in the production of wine. He believes the grape’s natural character should be translated into the bottle with as little manipulation as possible. Grapes are pressed gently so as not to extract harsh tannins from the skins. Modern pumps and gravity move wine from tank to barrel. The majority of wine is aged in French Oak barrels. Newport Vineyards is a wonderful place to visit. Tours and tastings are offered year round. The winery also hosts small weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate groups and other private events.