Rhode Trip: Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards

July 17, 2013 at 7:54 am 9 comments


I’ve been writing about New England vineyards for various magazines for nearly 10 years, so when  Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton went on the market a few years ago, I (along with many others, I’m sure) was hopeful that the stunning 170-acre property would remain a vineyard. When news broke in May that Carolyn Rafaelian, president of Rhode Island’s own Alex & Ani, had bought the property, there was a collective sigh of relief. If her purchase and admirable restoration of Newport’s Belcourt is any indication, rest assured the vineyard is in good hands (with dozens of expanding bangles of course).


I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the new Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards where there’s a palpable excitement in the air. Though there have been a few changes to the property already, including the addition of a sizable event tent that offers views of grapevines, pastures and the peaceful Sakonnet River, there are also big plans to improve the property with a re-purposed space for meetings/gatherings, an expanded cafe and more events, like the 2013 Little Compton Antiques Festival (Aug. 3).IMG_1670

Already wine production has climbed to over 30,000 cases annually and longtime winemaker Elaine Bernier continues to oversee the production of the vineyard’s Vinifera varietals including Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc as well as Vidal Blanc, a French-American hybrid and my personal favorite made by the winery.

The cafe is being run by Russell Morin Fine Catering, and I have to say when I had lunch there, it was outstanding. A cool breeze coming off the Sakonnet River, grapevines as far as the eye can see, and a wine flight that offered up all the differing varietals combined for a feast for the senses.

Grilled Atlantic Tuna on a locavore salad

Grilled Atlantic Tuna on a locavore salad

One fabulous way to experience the vineyard is by gathering up some good friends and heading to their Summer Concert Series, held on most Thursday nights (CLICK HERE for a schedule).


Here’s an inside look at it all…Cheers!


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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chelley / AisForAdelaide  |  July 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    RI Blogger event here… yes!!!!

    • 2. Andrea McHugh  |  July 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I agree! Maybe after summer when folks are a little less busy??

  • 3. Kristin Wheeler (@MamaLuvsBooks)  |  July 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Looks like fun! We’ve been there and it’s beautiful!

  • 4. Kirsten DiChiappari  |  July 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I have been a fan of their Vidal Blanc for years so I am thrilled that Carolyn stepped in to save, and improve this local treasure!

    • 5. Andrea McHugh  |  July 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Sweet! It’s exciting:)

  • 6. Jennifer / Multiple Realities Blog  |  July 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    This looks great! I’ve never been but want to go now!

    • 7. Andrea McHugh  |  July 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

      I’m thinking a Rhody Bloggers Rhode Trip???

  • 8. Kristie  |  July 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

    This is beautiful. We will plan to visit soon!

    • 9. Andrea McHugh  |  July 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

      It’s a great outing for friends, a date day or the family:)


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