Newport Winefest

What a great event! I had my skeptical moments, first when we saw the massive line waiting to get in, and a few other times when the people pouring wine were completely clueless about the wine they were pouring, but overall while it was a little too cocktail-heavy, I thought the Newport Winefest was fantastic.

As entered the first tent on the grounds of the Newport Yachting Center, we received glasses to use for the evening in addition to an event program with information on the various vendors.

Newport Winefest

There were plenty of people working the event, and it ran very smoothly. And they had real, inside bathrooms with lines that moved quickly. That’s important!

Newport Wine Festival

There was a lot of wine to be tasted, and rather than cover them all, I thought I would share some new and old favorites instead. You can see the complete festival lineup here.

We enjoyed Sauvignon Blanc from Quivira, a winery we missed on our last Dry Creek Valley trip. We also loved this very dry Whispering Angel Rosé from the South of France. It was an unusual, very pale Rosé, light and summery.

Quivira Sauvignon Blanc .Whispering Angel Rose

Though we were going to miss Beringer’s Great Steak Challenge, we stopped by for a sip of their Sauvignon Blanc as well.

Beringer Great Steak Challenge

I found the Pop Chips. . . several times throughout the evening. I love the salt and pepper so much!

Pop Chips

Always a lover of Austrian wine, I liked this Grooner Gruner Veltliner for its crisp, fresh citrus flavors. Their marketing is a lot of fun too, and the representative pouring the wine was very passionate about Gruner and had a lot of knowledge about the wine.

Grooner Gruner Veltliner

Every wine tasting I go to has Cabot cheese, and I am always sure to sample some of my favorites.

Cabot Cheese

We sipped bubbly St. Germain cocktails and enjoyed a rosato wine by        Lidia Bastianich’s family, made a friend from Casa Sola in Tuscany, had many laughs in the Hendrick’s tent, set up to look like colonial India with rich fabrics, travel trunks, and even a croquet area.

They had a wide array of cocktail samples, but I loved the cucumber and jalapeno cocktail with a pickle garnish. It was nice and spicy but also refreshing.

st. germain Hendrick's Cocktails Spicy cocktails from Hendrick's Bastianich Rosato
Hendrick's booth Hendrick's cocktail

One of  our favorites of the event was the Cigar Box Malbec, a big, intense red made with 100% Malbec grapes from Mendoza Argentina. I will definitely be hunting down a few bottles of this wine soon!

Cigar Box Malbec

Our favorite wine table overall was definitely the White Oak Winery table where we tasted their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and chatted with the representative who actually works at the winery. One of the nice things about Newport Winefest was that many of the people pouring wine were closely connected to it, either being the winemakers themselves or working at the winery. Often when the wine is poured by a large distributor, they represent so many brands that I end up knowing more about the wine than they do!

White Oak Vineyards

For the Joseph Carr wines, we had the pleasure of meeting Joseph Carr himself and tasting his fantastic Napa Cab made from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. The New York Times called him a wine producer to watch, and his wine certainly lives up to that.

Joseph Carr winemaker

From the beginning of the event we decided to save the Balvenie and Glenfiddich tables for “dessert”, so after some great seafood and more Pop Chips, we wandered over to the main tent to visit the William Grant booth. On the way there I saw this cool absinthe table. I didn’t try any, but I thought it was a great action shot!


When we finally got to the William Grant tables, we were greeted with an array of Scotch whisky’s from Balvenie and Glenfiddich and some friendly and knowledgeable representatives. Tasting through the lineup was the perfect way to end the event. As the weather was getting cooler and more overcast, breathing in the smell of the Scotch brought back memories of many visits to Ireland.

Glenfiddich Balvenie


We finished the night with some great food at The Wharf Pub in Newport.

Wine tasting tips

  • If you can avoid wearing perfume, do. Tasting wine is so much about smelling it that overwhelming scents can completely ruin the experience.
  • Take your pour, and step to the side. There is plenty of wine to go around, and hugging the table while people wait behind you is just rude.
  • You don’t need to drink the entire pour you are given. It’s perfectly fine to spit or dump it out, even if you love it. The pours at Newport Winefest were big,sometimes half glasses of wine, and if I actually drank them all I would have been in trouble!
  • Taking photos is not just for bloggers!I got so many compliments on the idea to photograph the labels of wines I enjoyed. It’s an instant memory helper!
  • Try something new. That’s what I love most about these types of events. They are great at helping you to find new wines. Think you don’t like Merlot?

I can’t wait for my next event. Coming up on September 23 is Vino Voyage III. You may remember my post on the last Vino Voyage; it was a blast, and I am looking forward to the next one!

Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival, my favorite event of the year, is also coming up on September 25.

Whew, long post! I hope you are still with me! Did you do anything fun this weekend?

I will pick a winner for my CSN Stores giveaway tonight, so be sure to enter if you haven’t!

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Tags: cocktails, events, Food, Newport, Rhode Island, Scotch, wine

  1. Daisy’s avatar

    what an incredible event. I love that they had other types of cocktails as well!! Great wine tasting tips. I’d for sure be in trouble because I hate to throw away booze, even though I know it’s acceptable practice!


  2. lisasfoods’s avatar

    I like your tips for winetasting. It’s funny – I’m not one to drink a glass of wine with a meal, but I think it’d be a lot of fun to go to a tasting like this, to try new wines and drinks, and to see what they pair well with.


  3. Amie’s avatar

    Looks like you had an awesome time!! I MUST make it to the winefest one of these years. I was actually in Newport all weekend for a bachelorette party, but it didn’t work out to hit the tastings. Great photos of the day!


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Hope you had a fun weekend! The Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival at the end of September is just fantastic. . . as long as the weather is good! If you get a chance, check it out!


    2. Kristy’s avatar

      What a great event, would have loved to have gone!! Great pics!


    3. Shanna @ Shanna Like Banana’s avatar

      I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for the White Oak…always looking for new vinos to add to my collection. Also want to try the cabot cheese!


      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        You should definitely visit their winery! I am hoping to after Foodbuzz Festival!


      2. MichellePC’s avatar

        That jalapeno and cucumber cocktail sounds fabulous! Great recap!


      3. Constance C’s avatar

        I didn’t end up making it myself! (packing for NYC too precedent!) But I wish I had looking at and reading this! And.. of course YAY GROONER :) Wish you could join us tomorrow night for some more delectable Austrian wines!


        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          I know! Next time definitely! Loved Grooner and the woman pouring the wine, she was fabulous!


        2. Simply Life’s avatar

          Oh that looks like such a fun event!


        3. Amanda @ Bakingwithoutabox’s avatar

          Great looking wine. And the cheese! Lovely photos.


        4. Kelly’s avatar

          Looks like a great time overall :) I wish I was ever available to do these cool Newport things you do- Eric has a charity football game I want to see on Sept 25th otherwise I would so be at the wine and food festival. One of these days!


          1. traveleatlove’s avatar

            They are having it on the 26th too. . . It is such a great event!


          2. allijag’s avatar

            SUPER jealous of the event – St. Germain is the best thing EVER CREATED! Can I just come live with you? You get to go to the greatest events out there!


            1. traveleatlove’s avatar

              Your next trip should definitely be to Boston!


            2. ashleigh’s avatar

              That wine fest looks like so much fun!


            3. Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear’s avatar

              You really get to go to the best events! :)


            4. RavieNomNoms’s avatar

              What a great event! I am going on a wine trail next month and I cannot wait!


            5. Corinne’s avatar

              wow this looks like so much fun!!! st. germain, wine, newport, cabot cheese…heaven!


            6. Jason Phelps’s avatar

              Great cover for the event. I don’t get out to enough local wine events, but only because I spend so much time making my own wine and sharing it with family and friends!



            7. Grace’s avatar

              Wow! You go to some seriously fun wine events! I enjoy Malbec and will have to try the Cigar Box label. I am also a big fan of Lidia Bastianich, had no idea her family made wine!


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