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RI FOOD & DINING

5 new wines made in Rhode Island to try🍷

Verde Vineyards in Johnston, R.I.Alexa Gagosz

This story first appeared in Globe Rhode Island’s Food & Dining newsletter, a free weekly email about Rhode Island’s restaurant industry that also contains information about local events, Q&As with chefs, dining guides, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail each Thursday, you can sign up here.


In the 1660s, King Charles II of England ruled that wine production would be included as one of the land uses in the royal charter that established Rhode Island as an English colony. With one of the most moderate climates in the US northeast, Rhode Island has micro-climates where the soil conditions closely resemble some of the best wine regions in the world.

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After more than 360 years since wine production was first approved as a land use, Rhode Island’s viticulture industry is truly picking up steam.

There are a number of vineyards in the Ocean State that grow their own grapes along the water’s edge, or off the rural backroads in the northern part of the state. Others source their grapes from small farms around the world, have them shipped to their base in Rhode Island, where they make and age the blends here before bottling and distributing.

We have a great interactive map of every winery, brewery, distillery, and cidery in the state for you to explore. Heading into 2023, there are a number of varietals to try from local winegrowers and makers.

For a wine without additives: PĂ©tillant Naturel from Anchor & Hope Wine in Rumford

Tasting notes: Using riesling grapes grown on the slopes overlooking Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York, this natural-style sparking wine is dry and crisp with flavors of tart green apples and a peppery grassy finish. The wine is left on the skin for 24 hours and then fermented naturally and sealed in a tank. anchorhopewine.com.

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For a robust red: Rhody Red from Gooseneck Vineyards in Wickford

Tasting notes: Think wildflowers, bright red fruits, and a luscious velvet-like smoothness. It uses Portuguese grapes (50 percent Aragonez grapes, 30 percent Touriga Nacional, and 20 percent Alfrocheiro) and tastes like spicy cedar, blackberries and raspberries, and tiny hints of vanilla. Sip on it this winer with some aged firm cheeses, heavy sauces with fresh pasta, and dark meats. gooseneckvineyards.com.

For Chardonnay drinkers: FRIZ sparkling Chardonnay from Newport Vineyards in Middletown

Tasting notes: Sparkling wines -- whether it be cava, prosecco, champagne, or brut -- have had found another rebirth of popularity over the years. But this offering under the FRIZ line by Newport Vineyards hits the refresh button on an old classic. This un-oaked, crisp Chardonnay is kissed with champagne yeast to create a sparkling glass that pairs well with oysters, creamy pastas, and cheeseboards. newportvineyards.com.

For an orange wine: Pinot Gris Ramato from Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth

Tasting notes: To take a sip of the 2021 vintage of Pinot Gris Ramato from Greenvale Vineyards is to get a mouthful of guava, passion-fruit, and dried mango with hints of apricot, peach, and honeysuckle. A varietal aged in stainless steel bins in Portsmouth, this varietal thrives off of the juice having skin contact prior to fermentation to give off the orange-hued color compared to a classic white wine. greenvale.com.

For the wine enthusiast: Petite Pearl from Verde Vineyards in Johnston

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Tasting notes: Viticulturist and author Tom Plocher developed Petite Pearl, a newer hybrid grape variety, out of the necessity for grapes to withstand cold climates. The grape can withstand temperatures as low as -32°F. Giacomo Verde, the owner of Verde Vineyards in Johnston, bottles this dark red varietal that tastes of spices like nutmeg and cloves, dark fruits like blackberries and plums, and finishes with soft tannins and burnt orange peel. It’s a complex, well-balanced, and gives a round mouth-feel when drinking it. verdevineyardsri.com.

Giacomo Verde, the owner of Verde Vineyards in Johnston, RI walks up the stairs from his aging barn to the tasting room.Alexa Gagosz

Visit Food & Dining in Rhode Island for more. Because everyone’s gotta eat!


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.