Over 400 people came to the Coastal Wine Trail kick-off on Sunday, June 26 at Sakonnet Vineyards. There are nine vineyards along the wine trail that stretches from Langworthy Farm Winery in Westerly to Truro Vineyards at the end of Cape Cod.
People from all over New England attended. Several from Massachusetts and Connecticut said they love it and attend every time it is held at Sakonnet. On Sunday a group of eight from Rhode Island were sitting near The Coop's booth trying their new chocolate raspberry and chocolate strawberry spreads.
Also on the lawn was a lady from Buffalo, NY who was there for a girl’s weekend. For 43 years the girls from her college class in Vermont pick a destination and all meet there. This year it was Rhode Island and the Coastal Wine Trail kick-off.
All nine vineyards were well represented, and various wine and food connoisseurs were there to taste the wine and take a tour.
"The vines looked good so far and they were on track for a great year," said Elaine Bernier, the winemaker at Sakonnet Vineyards.
Susan and Earl Samson, owners of Sakonnet Vineyards, were on hand to greet the attendees for the sold out event. It featured three local vineyards including Greenvale Vineyards from Portsmouth, Sakonnet Vineyards and Newport Vineyards in Middletown.
“After a slow start the vines had caught up to where they should be and they, too, were looking forward to a great year," said Richard Carmichael, winemaker from Greenvale.
Bruce Newberry, WXLM's Food Dude was broadcasting his talk show and interviewing Chef Wayne Gibson of The Coop restaurant.
Many local vendors were on hand, such as Edible Arrangements that just opened a location in Newport on Long Wharf Mall. The cantaloupe was just perfect, sweet and juicy.
Blueberry chocolate spread from Wicked Natural located at Sweetberry Farm in Portsmouth was wicked good. Fluke’s Wine, Bar and Kitchen from Newport featured chef Neil Manacle’s shrimp seviche served in cone-shaped dished. It was very clever and appetizing.
Fatulli’s Bakery, with Janet Fatulli at the helm, had the most attractive booth, with eye-catching, delicious pastries and cookies of all different sizes, shapes, colors and flavors.
Tiverton's Milk and Honey Bazaar showed a variety of their 100 varieties of cheese to which they add new items every week.
Chef Casey Riley, CEO of dining and wholesale operations of Newport Harbor Corporation, introduced the new chef at Castle Hill, Karsten Hart. Chef Hart will replace Chef Jonathan Cambra, who moves to The Boat House in Tiverton.
Farm Fresh RI, an organization founded in 2004 to promote a local food system that values the environment, was at the kick-off to promote the quality of life of the Rhode Island farmers and the communities they serve. It connects the local grower with local consumers bringing healthy food to all. In the Aquidneck and Sakonnet areas, the farmers markets are located in Middletown at Newport Vineyards and Tiverton Four Corners on Saturday. On Wednesday, farmers markets are held in Newport along Memorial Boulevard and on Thursday at the Aquidneck Grange on East Main Road in Middletown.
Don't forget to get your passport stamped and turned in before the end of the year be eligible for some fantastic prizes from Coastal Wine Trail, like a beautiful cruise to Bermuda and gift certificates to all of the vineyards.