Newport Vineyards gets ‘green’ with new digs

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Newport Vineyards’ brand new building in Middletown is helping the vineyard “go green” for its wine-making process.

The winery’s new roof includes solar panels, which soaks up daylight as the season’s grapes are dumped into a grinder. The solar panels are one of several green projects at the new building which replaces an environmentally-inefficient building from the 1970s.

“The solar panels that we have just installed generate about 25 percent of our power that will go into the new winery,” said John Nunes, co-owner of Newport Vineyards.

Nunes says he expects the solar panels to pay for themselves in five years.

Another green project includes an imported Italian hay baler, which harvests grape vines.

“When we take all these vines and we prune them back, we actually take the vines themselves, grind them up, and make wood pellets out of them,” Nunes said.

The pellets are then used to heat the winery. Newport Vineyards may be the only vineyard in the country using this process, according to Nunes.

During the wine-making process, Newport Vineyards also uses a green process to capture the heat instead of allowing it to release through the roof.

“But what we’re doing is we are recapturing that heat into our hot water tanks to preheat the hot water for the cleaning and things like that,” Nunes said.

Newport Vineyards is located at 909 East Main Road, Middletown. The vineyard is open daily for tours and tastings.

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