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History

Newport Vineyards was originally planted in 1977 on a hill overlooking Rhode Island Sound with the goal of producing fine wines and as a way of preserving beautiful agricultural land from rapid development. Aquidneck Island is blessed with one of the most desirable farming areas in the country, if not the world. This extraordinary micro-climate is created by a combination of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream to the south and the moderating effects of Narragansett Bay. These conditions provide a long, cool growing season ideal for developing complex flavors in wine. Since the original vineyard plantings in the 1970s, Newport Vineyards, under the ownership of John and Paul Nunes, has grown to 60 vineyard acres. Below is timeline of significant events in the history of Newport Vineyards.

  • The Vineyard Today

    Cheers to 20 years! On the heals of the 20th Anniversary and following a multi-million dollar renovation, Newport Vineyards completes a two-year expansion which includes Brix Restaurant, The Vineyard Cafe, The Marketplace,new Tasting Room, new Tank Room, new and expanded venue facilities, the growth of public events, live music and private events.

  • Great White and Pinot Gris Win Gold

    Newport Vineyards 2014 Great White and 2014 Pinot Gris win Gold and Best of Category in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, one of the oldest wine organizations on the East Coast.

  • Riesling Wins Best of Show

    Newport Vineyards Riesling wins best of show out of 458 wine entries at the Jefferson Cup Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition.

  • Nunes Farm Preservation

    John and Paul Nunes acquire the Nunes Farm from the Estate of Susan Nunes, daughter in-law of the late Francisco Nunes. The property is placed into perpetual preservation through a partnership between the Nunes Family, the Aquidneck Land Trust and the State of Rhode Island. The property is planted as a vineyard with 8 varieties of wine grapes.

  • Ingenuity Award

    Newport Vineyards is presented with the Rhode Island Historical Society Ingenuity and Enterprise Award for its vineyard practices, Port wine and Ice Wine.

  • Ice Wine Voted in Top 50 US Wines

    Newport Vineyards Vidal Ice Wine is voted one of the top 50 wines in the United States at the Jefferson Invitational.

  • First Gold Medal

    “Great White” wins its first gold medal at the Eastern International Wine Competition and becomes Newport Vineyard’s best selling wine.

  • Perry Farm Acquisition

    Newport Vineyards acquires the Perry Farm next to the winery on Route 138 through a partnership between the Aquidneck Land Trust and The State of Rhode Island Division of Agriculture. This farm was targeted for 80 house lots and today is protected from development and planted with 9 varieties of vinifera wine grapes.

  • Establishment Of Newport Vineyards

    John and Paul Nunes acquire the winery from retiring Captain Alexander and establish the Newport Vineyards brand.

  • Winery Built

    Partnership between Captain Alexander and the Nunes Family starts with the establishment of a modern winery on Route 138 just north of Newport, Rhode Island. Originally founded as Vinland Wine Cellars, the winery produced its first vintage in this year. George Chelf, the winemaker still with Newport Vineyards today, is hired and presses his first grapes.

  • First Grapes Planted

    Retired Captain Richard Alexander plants wine grapes on the Hopelands Estate overlooking Rhode Island Sound. After experimenting with several varietals, he plants 10 acres of French-American wine grapes with the help of family, friends and neighbors, including John and Paul’s cousin Peter Nunes.

  • Nunes Farm Purchased

    Francisco Nunes, the great grandfather of John and Paul Nunes, acquires the 51-acre Bailey Farm on Wyatt Road.  Known today as the Nunes Farm, this stone wall lined property is protected from development and planted to 30 acres of vineyard.  The farm dates back to 1701 and is listed on the National Historic Register.