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  • Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Magnificent Sparkling in Massachusetts?

Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery
Tucked inside the shores of Buzzard’s Bay, 80 acres of chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling, rkatsiteli, and several other varietals surround a first class winery operation on what was once a potato farm. This close to the coast, the warm ocean temperatures moderate the New England winter, bringing less snowfall to damage the vines.

In spring, cooler ocean water moderates early warm spikes, delaying bud break and preventing frost damage from retarding growth. And in fall, the warmer water extends the growing season, allowing a later harvest here than in other New England vineyards. Combine this microclimate with a family dedicated to quality wines and you have Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery, the gem of New England winemaking that has won dozens of Gold Medals and been raved about by local, national and international press.

A friend urged me to visit Westport Rivers when researching my novel Sin & Vengeance, saying that the wines were as good as anything grown in the Napa Valley and that the family would welcome me with open arms. He was right on both counts.

The Russell family taught me so much about wines and winemaking my readers assume I’ve been an enthusiast for years. I am so enamored with their fruity sparkling wines I serve them at every function and book group meeting I attend. My guests can’t believe the sparkling is produced right here in Massachusetts and many go on to explore the vineyard for themselves.

Three times I’ve brought my readers to tour the vineyard. We discuss the action from my novel Sin & Vengeance and the script for the Sin & Vengeance movie, both of which are set on the property. The Russell family delights the crowd with information about winemaking and a touch of family history.

As my friend before me, I urge you to visit Westport Rivers Winery on your next trip to Massachusetts. It’s about 30 minutes from the excellent restaurants in Providence, a few miles from Horseneck Beach, and about 40 minutes from the bridges to Cape Cod. Throw in a bed and breakfast and you’ve got a fantastic weekend getaway.

CJ West is the author of 5 thrillers set in New England. Find him at


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