Heading back east and into Massachusetts we come to Westport Rivers. Founded in 1982, Westport Rivers is run by the Russell brothers, Robert the Vineyard Manager and Bill the Winemaker. The wines have earned, as they say, “over 40 Gold Medals, 100s of Silver Medals and the seemingly endless praise from both National and International Wine Press.” Even more impressively, as of 2012, the Russell Family has permanently preserved 400 acres of working farmland and forest.
Westport recently renovated their upstairs Russell Gallery and have built a custom-designed Wine Bar, which extends their hours on Fridays and Saturdays to 8pm. Tasting hours are typically Mondays–Saturdays, 11am–5pm. They’ll also be offering local cheeses and artisan breads for sale. Like the other wineries, Westport Rivers has ongoing special events such as wine classes.
Regarding 2014’s growing season and harvest Robert Russell says, “Fantastic late summer weather has done a great job in catching us up on what would have been a later than normal season. The rain we received in early October was much needed and came at the perfect time. The return of warm, sunny days and cool nights after the rain ensured that this will be one of our best growing seasons and productive harvests yet.”
New this year is a 2013 Pinot Meunier. For 20 years Westport Rivers has grown this grape to blend into their Westport Brut RJR Sparkling Wine. Rarely found at any winery as a standalone varietal, the Russells felt 2013 presented a great opportunity to bottle a still version. Westport Rivers is also releasing several other wines for the first time this year including a 2013 Barrel Aged Pinot Blanc, 2013 Semi-Sweet Riesling and 2013 Muscat. Their second release of a Pinot Noir, a 2013 Pinot Noir, will be out later this fall.
While Westport Rivers has many excellent still wines, it’s hard to talk about the winery without highlighting their multi-award winning sparkling wines, which has been served at dinners at the White House to represent American sparkling wine. The Champagne-style produced Brut, Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs were recently joined by a new sparkler, Westport Rivers Farmers Fizz, which is more similar to a Prosecco, very light and crisp and perfect to kick off a meal or to enjoy with dessert.
417 Hixbridge Road, Westport. 508-636-3423