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.

1917 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.

1977 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.




1988 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.




1995 establishment of newport vineyards
john and paul nunes acquire the winery from retiring captain alexander and establish the newport vineyards brand.

1998 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.

1998 first gold medal
“great white” wins its first gold medal at the eastern international wine competition and becomes newport vineyard’s best selling wine.

1999 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.

2000 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.

2002 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.

riesling wins best of show - 8/1/2008
newport vineyards riesling wins best of show out of 458 wine entries at the jefferson cup atlantic seaboard wine competition.

2008 and beyond
newport vineyards is the largest grower of wine grapes in new england and is recognized as a landmark attraction in newport county and continues the tradition of growing quality wines on preserved farmland.  

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hopeland estate

nunes farm
nunes farm

captain alexander
captain alexander
peter nunes planting
peter nunes plants vines in 1980

winery built
winery built
george chelf - first vintage, 1988
george chelfs first vintage, 1988

newport vineyards logo
1995 establishment of newport vineyards

perry farm planting
perry farm planting, 1998

ri historical society
ri historical society logo

land trust
aquidneck island land trust

our winery
newport vineyards winery


909 e. main rd (rt 138)   |   middletown, ri 02842   |   401.848.5161   |