Boston Wine Expo 2008
Rob Russell - Westport Rivers Winery



Rob Russell is the vineyard manager at Westport Rivers Winery, an award winning Massachusetts winery which makes stellar sparkling wines and chardonnays. The coastal climate in Westport is just about perfect for growing these grapes. It rivals Long Island and California for a great growing climate for Chardonnay. We talked for a while with Rob about how the winery is doing.

Westport Rivers We commented on the new labels that were sported on the bottles. Rob explained that his brother Bill - the winemaker - does the label design himself and thought it was time for an update.

The winery has a new varietal it is bottling - Rkatsiteli, a traditional Russian variety normally grown in Moldovia. This was first planted at Westport in 1986 and has been used as a blending wine in their Imperial Sec sparkling wine along with Riesling. Rkatsiteli makes an Alsacian style white wine with a crisp, fruity, juicy flavor and a hint of lime tartness. 2005 was the first year they began offering this as a standalone varietal, and it has been selling well.

Rob says they have "no plans to expand the vineyards right now". They currently have excess fruit and are selling juice to other local wineries. They would rather have excess fruit and be able to pick and choose exactly what they use for their own blends, vs having too little and have to sacrifice quality. In general their sparkling wine portfolio has really done well. They sold out of the flagship Brut Cuvee in August.

Whenever I see Bill I harass him about making an ice wine for me, so I decided to make my interests known to Rob as well. He said they do have Pineau, a distilled dessert wine which is doing quite well for them. With the relaxed shipping laws, they are now able to sell to 28 states, which helps to broaden their audience.

If you ever have a free weekend in the Boston area, make sure you take a drive down to Westport Rivers winery! It's a gorgeous location, and the wines are well worth the visit. These aren't just the best "Massachusetts wines". They are great wines, period.

Westport River Winery Webpage

Boston Wine Expo 2008 Notes

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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.