Explore Rhode Island’s Vineyards

At last count there were 10 vineyards in Rhode Island. Who knew? We live in wine country! Almost all of the vineyards are family run, some into the second generation.

winesakonnetThe oldest winery in Rhode Island is Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, recently purchased by Carolyn Rafaelian, owner of Alex and Ani. The vineyard is on the same parallel as the great wine regions of France, California and Oregon. Wine tastings, weddings, jazz, Carolyn’s Café, award winning wines, corporate field days, iconic stone walls and beautifully manicured rows of grape vines define this  quintessential vineyard. They just celebrated their 40th anniversary! 162 West Main Rd, Little Compton; 401-635-8486; sakonnetwine.com 

wineverdeVerde Vineyards, owned by Giacomo Verde (better know to his friends as “Jimmy the grape”) loves to inform visitors about oenology and how an obsession turned into a business. Jimmy offers free tours and tasting of his wines. Verde Vineyards specializes red St. Croix and Cayuga white because after much trial and error, Jimmy finds these grapes grow the best in this area. 50 Hopkins Rd, Johnston; 401-934-2317; verdevineyardsri.com

winediamondDiamond Hill Vineyards are well-known for their fruit wines, blueberry, spiced apple, peach, cranberry, raspberry and blackberry, although they also produce vintage wines. The second generation now runs this 30-year-old vineyard. 3145 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland; 401-333-2751; Diamondhillvineyards.com  While tastings are free; groups of 10 or more are charged a nominal fee.

winenewportNewport Vineyards is just finishing a multimillion dollar renovation to bring the Napa experience to Newport. The vineyard is anchored at one end by Fatulli’s bakery and deli for day, and a first class restaurant — Brix — at the other end for evening. Owned and operated by the Nunes family, they produce red, white, blush, sparkling dessert wines and hard cider. It also hosts a farmers market and very popular yoga classes. There is more to come! 909 East Main Rd (RTE 138), Middletown; 401-848-5161; newportvineyards.com

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Nickel Creek vineyard is another family run vineyard, and winner of The Providence Journal‘s Summer Guide Summer Challenge. From pinot grigio — dry, light and best served chilled — to Decadence, a traditional port, which is elegant and gently tart, they produce both fruit wines and grape wines. 12 King Rd, Foster; 401-369-3694; nicklecreekvineyard.com; Complementary tastings of  two samples.

Greenvale Vineyards is located on what used to be an award-winning dairy farm in Portsmouth. Located on the banks of the Sakonnet River, the land is the perfect terrior for grapes. Greenvale Vineyards is operated by the Parker/Wilson family on land that the Parker family has owned for generations. Greenvale recently won Editor’s Pick for Vineyard Event for their Jazz Saturdays from Best of Rhode Island in Rhode Island Monthly582 Wapping Rd, Portsmouth; Greenvale.com; 401-847-3777 

wineleydenLeyden Farms is another family affair, run by the third generation: Jack and Maureen Leyden and their daughters, Caitlin and Lauren. In 2010, they decided to diversify their Christmas Tree farm and make fruit and grape wines. They blend some of their red and white grape wines with their fruit wines. Their golden sangria would be great warmed up with mulling spices for fall. One thing I really like is that when you call, Maureen or one of the family will answer the phone. 60 Plain Meeting House Rd, West Greenwich; 401-392-1133; leydenfarm.com  

winelangworthyLangworthy Farms is minutes from the beaches. It’s on an historical home site in the shade of the largest Norway Maple tree in the state, which is also one  of the largest Norway Maples in the US. Adjoining the winery is a 1875 bed and breakfast. The tasting room is usually full of people trying their blended wines or their red and white wines. 308 Shore Rd (Route 1A) Westerly; 401-322-7791; langworthyfarm.com

From a recently expanded, state-of the art facility, Sheila Gold, owner of ShelaLara, produces over 20 different varieties of wine. They ferment, vinify, bottle and label their wines on site. Their line consists of California wines, fruit essence wines, vintage wines, glacier wines, Italian wines and their trademarked Gaspee wine slush. The wines are low in sulfates. 21 Reservoir Rd, Coventry; 401-623-8606; shelalara.com

winemulberryWhile attending URI, David R. Wright studied entomology, chemistry and microbiology and took food science classes to identify levels of alcohol in local wines. He then consulted local vineyards on insect management. David got the bug and in 1991, began planting grapevines everywhere. Over the next 14 years he learned that Rhode island has a perfect terrior for growing certain types of grapes. In 2011 David and his wife, Melissa, purchased the historical Andrew Brown homestead and turned it into Mulberry Vineyards. He now produces American riesling, a crisp white wine that is very drinkable; a cabernet sauvignon and a gamay noir. 95 Pound Rd, Chepachet; 401-217-9288; mulberryvinyards.com. Vineyards is now open to the public Saturday and Sunday from 11am – 4pm

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