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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Greenvale Vineyards - Portsmouth, Rhode Island

After spending some time at Colt State Park, the day of no plans continued and with great success.  We accidentally came upon the Newport Polo Grounds, an exciting idea for equestrian enthusiasts like myself.  After driving through the polo grounds with promises to return and watch.  Next stop on our "unplanned whatever goes road trip" ended up being a vineyard.  We had heard there were a few vineyards in the area and as I looked at the map, I saw that Greenvale Vineyard was only a few miles away.  

Vineyards and good wine was one thing I was really missing in Utah.  I had visited local Hive Winery, but it was just a spot where they made the wine in a commercial shopping center, no picnic, no grapes no vines.  New England is home to a slew of vineyards, several located just a few miles from my home in Stonington.  Back in New England on a sunny Fourth of July weekend, an afternoon sipping wine and walking in the vines sounded like as good as a Sunday can get.

Greenvale Vineyard
The vines at Greenvale 

Oh, this place was charming --- What I loved most about the vineyard was its small town vibe.  It did not scream of mass production and high profit, but instead of conservation, historic preservation, high-quality wine, a relaxed feel, and preservation of open space.  Dogs are allowed, you are invited to bring a picnic lunch, and there is even a tasting table out on the patio overlooking the vines.  Couples and families were spread out on the lawn on blankets, and the really organized family had an impressive setup with tables and chairs.  Dogs were snoozing at the edges of picnic blankets and wine was chilling in coolers.

Tasting local wine (all made from grapes right at this vineyard) w
hile listening to the history of this old stable I'm standing in, turned into a tasting room for the vineyard.  Enjoying a crisp white wine while the lovely staff member tells me all about the wine, the grapes, and live jazz on Saturdays. New England, I missed your history and your charm so much.  

Greenvale Vineyard
Wine for sale and the beautiful labels on the Greenvale Chardonnay
Greenvale Vineyards produces small quantities of estate grow wines.  The vineyard is located along the Sakonnent River in Portsmouth Rhode Island, just five miles north of the busy downtown Newport.  You can tour the vineyard, enjoy a wine tasting, walk the grounds, relax in the tasting room, enjoy a picnic on the lawn, and even listen to live jazz.   The vineyard is just one of the three wineries in Newport County, and one of the eight wineries along the Coastal Trail following the coast of Southern New England.  

Greenvale Vineyard
Old Stable renovated into a tasting room
Greenvale farm has been in the same family since 1863 and is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.   The tasting room was renovated from an old stable, capturing the charm of an old barn while still proving a useful and beautiful tasting room for a winery.  The renovation even won an award for restoration and “adaptive reuse”.  When you walk into the tasting room, you see the remnants of the barn converted into a tasting room right away.  There are old horse carriages stored in that loft above.  And my favorite, old pictures and aerials of the farm as it was, with chickens, and goose roaming the property, and horses in the stable. 

 The vineyard has live jazz every Saturday from May through November.  "Jazz tastings" are Saturday 1 through 4 and are $15.00 a person, including the live jazz and the same tasting of 8 wines  It sounds like a dreamy Saturday afternoon to enjoy some wine and a picnic out on the lawn while live jazz gently plays in the background.  I can hardly stand it.

There is also a year-long schedule of concerts and open houses at the vineyard.  You can also find periodic book singings and other fun public events.  You can even rent the space for weddings, rehearsal dinners, or other private events. 

Greenvale Vineyard
Enjoying a glass of wine with ocean views at Greenvale Vineyard
The vineyard tours and tastings in the summer are offered from 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday, and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.  Public tours are offered at 2pm every day.  (winter hours are slightly different, 11am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and noon to 4 on Sundays).   Group tours and tastings are $15.00 a person and must be scheduled two weeks in advance. 

Greenvale Vineyard
Tasting Room
Greenvale can be called a “small producer of exceptional wines”.  The vineyard produces about 3,500 cases of wine a year from 24 acres of their own grapes.  I was astounded that unlike many vineyards, this winery does not use a mix of imported and local grapes for their wine.  All of the wine is made from their own grapes here on the farm. All harvesting of the grapes is done by hand and the wines are produced right there on Aquidneck Island.  Some of the wine is even processed the “old fashioned way” in a basket press.  

White wine is the most commonly produced in New England due to the climate. Traditional red wine grapes can be particularly difficult to grow in Northeastern climates. Many of the most popular red wines, like cabernet sauvignon or merlot, come from grapes that need long growing seasons and moderate winters like they have in California. The best place to grow wine grapes in the northeast is near large bodies of water that can moderate the temperature extremes that can make life tough for wine grapes. Source

I loved the artistic label on the wines and looking at old photos of the vineyard as a working farm.  The history of the stable, and all the fun facts from the extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. (Fun fact: I was told their logo came from a design off the original house). 

Greenvale Vineyard
Old Stable now tasting room- wth an outdoor patio and tasting outside as well
Greenvale Vineyard
Walking into the vineyard
Tastings are $12.00 a person including 8 different wines to samples, a very reasonable fee to sample 8 wines with a lot of explanation and introduction from their wonderful staff.  We worked our way down the list, from the driest white to the sweetest, ending with two red wines.  We loved the driest white being the Pinot Gris.  After going down the list, we settled on a bottle of the Pinot Gris to enjoy in the vines with cheese crackers and olives I had packed for a snack on the trip (without the intention of touring a winery, sometimes it just works out). 

Greenvale Vineyard
Crisp white wine and gorgeous views
Greenvale Vineyard
Old Stable now Tasting Room
From Newport (RI) - Route 138 North and then a right onto Brahmans Lane.  Take a right on Wapping Road and an immediate left on Greenvale Lane.  You will see parking for the tasting room near the end of the lane.  

From Fall River (MA)- Route 24 South across the Sakonnet River to Exit 1 for Route 138 South and the Middletown/Newport Beaches.  Right onto Route 138 South passed the State Polic Barracks and a left onto Sandy Point Avenue at the light. First right onto Wapping Road and the driveway is about 1 mile down on the left.  

Greenvale Vineyard
Enjoying a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers

Greenvale Vineyard
View of the tasting room and deck through the vines
Sunday evenings like this remind me of why I love New England so much  History, renovated barns, and acres of beautiful vines with views of the ocean.  Summer is short here in the Northeast, but afternoons like this make all those cold winter nights seem so far away. If you are in the Newport area, I can't reccommend stopping at this vineyard enough.  Pack a picnic, bring your dog, and buy a bottle of the Pinot Gris.
Happy Travels,


  1. This is ONE thing I wished Utah had more of - wineries!!!! You just can't get that here :( Looks like it was a nice place - Alicia @

    1. I agree! Definitely something I missed ! There is THE HIVE winery in Layton but its basically a small shop in am industrial area (no vines!).

  2. Everything was spot-on perfect at our wedding. And this was due in large part to their manager and the amazing staff. Very professional staff at wedding venues chicago, incredible food, spectacular view and when you felt like a guest at your wedding it cannot get any better.


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