John Nunes, Jr.
Hometown: Newport, RI
Career Journey: A URI graduate, I left Rhode Island for a career with Dun and Bradstreet, traveling through ME, NH, PA and Germany. It was in Germany that I eared my MBA and developed my passion for wine. A passion that would ultimately bring me right back to my roots on Aquidneck Island, the rest is history.
A Day in the Life: Early morning run with my dog Comet through the vineyard to check on things in the fields, then onto the winery. With this being such an exciting time at the winery much of my day is focused on business operations for the expansion.
Wine Tip: Pick the wine, then match the food.
When Not at the Vineyard You Can Find Me: Spending time in NH, skiing, fly fishing or hiking.
Favorite Place to Enjoy Newport Vineyards Wine: 4th Beach in Portsmouth with my wife Nancy, son Nathan and dog Comet.
You’d Never Guess: I have 52 first cousins. I am also a genius (some may challenge this) at wine trivia.
Owner, Vineyard Manager
Hometown: Born and raised in Newport, RI
Career Journey: Farming, wine and real estate brokerage have been my life for the last 19 years. Prior to that I traveled extensively in Europe, North and South America, where I taught snowboarding and English to Chilean businessmen. I have also trekked extensively in the Alps and the Andes.
A Day in the Life: Frist thing check the weather report, inspect the crop with my dog Tuukka, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, get the vineyard crew going for the day, walk the winery, attend meetings, field calls from my daughters asking me if they can drive the golf cart through the vineyard.
Outside the Vineyard I Enjoy: Spending time with my wife Linda, daughters Maizy, 11 and Maya, 9, and my dog Tuukka. Playing volleyball, tennis, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and enjoying good beer (yes, beer).
Favorite Place to Enjoy Newport Vineyards Wine: By my fire pit with my dog at my side listening to some reggae or bluegrass.
You’d Never Guess: I survived snowboarding in an avalanche in Switzerland and was nearly crushed by a boulder that fell from a cliff near Lake Tahoe. I can also hold a headstand for a long time.
Hometown: Easton, MD, but Portsmouth, RI has been home since 1976.
Career Journey: Time in the Army and being stationed in Hanau, Germany sparked my interest in winemaking since there were several vineyards and wineries in the vicinity. After spending time at many of them wine became a passion, one that I knew I wanted to pursue as a career. When I returned to the States I was fortunate to acquire a position as an assistant winemaker in the early days of the Newport Vineyards. When the opportunity arose in 1988, I accepted the position of head winemaker for Newport Vineyards and I have been here for the past 25 years.
A Day in the Life: It depends on the time of year, but the constant is that there is always something going here. The advantage of working in a winery like Newport Vineyards means that I can have my hands on every part of the process – from being in the vineyard and checking on the progress of the grapes, to the harvest and all the steps that lead to the finished product. It still amazes me to see the full cycle.
Wine Tip: Everyone’s palate is different and you should enjoy a variety of wines depending on the courses or occasion. One pairing I enjoy is Gewurztraminer with spicy foods like Asian or Indian – the style of this wine is interesting and the aromatic flavor compliments these types of dishes.
When Not at the Vineyard You Can Find Me: Spending time with my wife Donna, and children Alicia, George and Victoria, cruising the Caribbean, and renovating my home.
Favorite Place to Enjoy Newport Vineyards Wine: Anywhere with good friends and family.
You’d Never Guess: After winemaking, bowling is my second passion. I have been playing since I was 10 years old and am still an avid bowler. In fact this past year I had an 800 series, which included my third 300.
Hometown: Born and raised in Taunton, MA
Career Journey: I come from a long line of chefs. My career began at just 10 years old in my family restaurant. I’ve been fortunate to work for some great chefs who mentored me, so I consider myself industry trained. I spent the last 10 years as an Executive Chef at a private country club. Now the vineyard is the perfect place to take my show public.
A Day in the Life: I start each morning connecting with our farmers to plan the week’s culinary program. From there I meet with our sous and pastry chef in the Vineyard Café, help the team with lunch service, mix in a meeting or two with the team, then up to Brix, where the team and I plan out the evening. Then finally call it a day around 10 at night. Phew!
Wine Tip: Cook with wine that you would drink, not wine that’s “just for cooking.”
When Not at the Vineyard You Can Find Me: With my family at the beach.
Favorite Place to Enjoy Newport Vineyards Wine: On my back deck with my wife and a cigar.
You’d Never Guess: I considered a career in executive protection, but the kitchen is my calling.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Hometown: Sandy Hook, CT
Career Journey: As Connecticut native, URI brought me to Rhode Island where I discovered my passion for the hospitality and tourism industry. Time studying at RISD, Johnson & Wales University, and an MBA from Salve Regina University expanded my horizons, and a career in the hotel industry brought me the opportunities of traveling across the country. However, my passion for the hospitality industry began here in Newport County and over ten years later it’s even stronger.
A Day in the Life: I’m a morning person. You can find me in the Point neighborhood of Newport each morning walking my dog and taking in the water views. Then onto the vineyard where I spend the majority of my day managing the marketing, advertising, brand, social media and online presence for all segments of the winery, events and restaurant. Oh, and most importantly keeping John and Paul in line!
Wine Tip: I’m convinced the team here hasn’t aged; it must be something in the grapes, so raise your glasses. Cheers!
When Not at the Vineyard You Can Find Me: Outdoors – kayaking, running, taking in Aquidneck Island’s amazing sunsets, spending time with my husband Dave, dog Rosco, family and friends.
Favorite Place to Enjoy Newport Vineyards Wine: Anywhere with family and friends. Most recently – at Doris Duke’s Rough Point mansion lawn while taking in an outdoor newport FILM movie.
You’d Never Guess: I’ve traveled 300 ft below ground in Wales exploring the Big Pit mines. I haven’t had any caffeine (not one drop of coffee, soda or tea) in over 10 years.
Food & Beverage Director
Hometown: Narragansett, RI
Career Journey: I live and breathe hospitality. I earned my chops by starting my professional career in the Florida Keys, in what was supposed to be a two year adventure turned into ten years of growing in the food and beverage industry. From there my career took me to the horse lands of Kentucky where I continued to learn about food, drink and of course Kentucky bourbon. Missing the ocean I came back to my home state and settled in RI where I took on the role of General Manager in a awarded nominated bistro that focused on sustainability and locally sourcing food and beverage.
A Day in the Life: My mornings start with a run listening to rock ‘n roll to get me pumped for the day. I always make sure I sit and have a hearty breakfast with my kids, then onto the vineyard. Most of my day is spent working with the food and beverage team on creating a seamless experience for our guests. From visiting nearby farms to choose ingredients for our menus, to working with the team on planning our next big public event. I want everyone who steps through our doors to not only have a hell of a good time, but to try something new and most importantly learn about wine and food.
Wine Tip: Rosé doesn’t have to be enjoyed just during the spring – its a year round beverage of choice.
When Not at the Vineyard You Can Find Me: By the water either surfing with my kids or boating around New England waters.
Favorite Place to Enjoy Newport Vineyards Wine: Anywhere with a cheese board and friends.
You’d Never Guess: I was a crew member aboard a 125-foot Schooner in the Florida Keys. I also have been spearfishing while swimming sharks.
Assistant Food & Beverage Director
Food & Beverage Manager
Catering & Event Manager