Friday, August 08, 2008

Newport Vineyards Triumphs at Atlantic Seaboard Competition

RI Winery wins top honors
Updated: Aug 6, 2008 02:24 PM EDT

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) - The Ocean State was both well represented and well received at this year's Annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, where Newport Vineyards, a family owned Rhode Island winery, made quite the showing.

The Fourth Annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition was held on July 19-20 in Haymarket, Virginia, and included 458 wine entries from 100 wineries in 12 states.

Newport Vineyards was one of only two wineries to win two Best of Category awards, thanks to their 2007 Riesling and 2007 Tranquility, which both took home top honors.

The 2007 Riesling won for best Riesling and also for Best of Show, while the 2007 Tranquility won for best White Vinifera Blend. George Chelf, winemaker for Newport Vineyards, is proud of the accomplishments.

"To take Best of Show out of 458 entries is a milestone achievement for Rhode Island wines," he explained. "Especially against some of the best wines in the country."

The awards will lead to much more publicity for Newport Vineyards and their best wines - both the Riesling and the Tranquility will make their way to Washington, DC, for the U.S.

Congressional Wine Caucus in September, where they will be included at an awards presentation and wine tasting reception.

Additionally, they will be poured at the "Taste of the Best of the Atlantic Seaboard" at the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts in Napa Valley later this year.

"Locally grown wine, just like locally grown food, has a lower carbon footprint than wines from the West Coast and imported wine," explained John Nunes, co-owner of Newport Vineyards.

"Sales remain strong and we expect steady growth in the future."

The growth of the vineyard is already well underway, however; the vineyard recently completed a 7500 vine expansion, making them the largest winegrower in New England, with a vineyard that reaches 60 acres.

Planted on Nunes Farm, the new vines are growing on land that has been within the Nunes family for over five generations. Protected by the Aquidneck Land Trust, the varietals include Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Vidal Blanc. Production from the new vineyard is expected in 2011.

Newport Vineyards has been owned by John and Paul Nunes since 1995. The family farmland dates back to 1917 on Aquidneck Island. Through partnerships with the Aquidneck Land Trust, Newport Vineyards has acquired several properties and farms that are now protected from real estate development and must remain as agricultural.

The winery is located at 909 East Maid Road in Middletown. It is open year-round for wine tastings and winery tours.

Reported by: Julie Parise