Review: Red Newt Cellars – Finger Lakes, NY

Official Review by The Traveling Winers

29-Red NewtFounded in 1998 by David and Debra Whiting, Red Newt Cellars produces some outstanding Finger Lakes wine. Located on the east side of Seneca Lake in the New York Finger Lakes Wine Country, this winery is the largest producer in the area of single-vineyard Rieslings. They produce approximately 20,000 cases per year with a focus on aromatic white varietals such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Now under the auspices of winemaker Kelby James Russell, this winery continues to create high quality wines that have been noticed by industry leaders such as Wine Spectator, Food and Wine, and Wine and Spirits Magazine.

A unique business model for The Finger Lakes

Most of the wineries that we visited while on our trip to The Finger Lakes Wine Country were estate wineries, having their own vineyards, either on site or relatively close by, harvesting their own grapes and making wines right on the premises.This “all-in-one” business model adds to the romantic nature of wine as it demonstrates passion for the entire process. But at Red Newt, they do it a little bit differently.

Their approach is to focus on individual plots of land, or in vineyard terms, blocks, that provide unique characteristics, based on the soil type and proximity to the lake, to each grape varietal. The way they accomplish this feat is to make contractual agreements with local growers, sometimes even providing the capital that may be needed to plant a vineyard from bottom-up (drainage, vines, posts, etc…). We have seen this arrangement many times before in our travels, but not to the level of intimacy that was witnessed at Red Newt. The difference that we noticed was that of intention. The intention of searching out the agricultural elements of nature that will impart specific characteristics to the chosen grape planted. Intentional, dedication, and commitment are all words that could be used to describe the business model developed in regards to their fruit acquisition. Yes, Red Newt too, because of their intention, dedication and commitment display a romantic nature.

Collaboration to the 3rd degree

5-Red Newt (1)The word tierce comes from the Old French, meaning ” a third”, and is the name to a wine born out of a collaboration and a love for Riesling. The men behind this brainchild are Johannes Reinhardt, Peter Bell,  and David Whiting, all winemakers with a history and a love for Riesling. They met in 1999, sharing their passion for the varietal and creating a unique way to express this passion. Since 2004, each year (with the exception of 2007 when they deviated to a red wine) the three men select a batch of their Riesling production from their respective wineries and collaborate to formulate a blend…a Riesling blend named Tierce. Just like any wine, but especially with this combination of different vineyards, terroir and winemakers, Tierce differs from year to year. We were allowed to taste the 2013 blend, a dry rendition with just the right amount of minerality, and one which was written about by Wine Enthusiast and awarded 88 points.

Yummy, delectable eats

Wine is not the only thing they do well at Red Newt. Their on-site bistro serves up some scrumptious delights from spicy tomato soup to gourmet stuffed grilled cheese sandwiches. We have no doubt that you will be able to find a welcoming flavor for your taste buds. Started by the late Debra Whiting, a dedicated locavore chef known all around the region, they continue to create original cuisine made from all local ingredients.

34-Red Newt

Come for a tasting, leave with an education (and a bottle or two!)

28-Red Newt (1)We just had to tell you about our experience with Heather, a server at Red Newt. Really though, Heather is much more than a server. She is a wealth of information, both about wine and the local area. Heather, like many of the folks in the business, grew up in the area and knows a little bit about everything and everyone! We really enjoyed our time with her and would encourage you to seek her out if you visit. Don’t be afraid to ask any question because we’re sure she will have the answer. Thanks for the GREAT experience, Heather!



Tom Joe
“Hops ‘r Better” Winer

Wine always goes great with food, and Red Newt had some really nice lunch items …. the only thing better to go with the food might have been beer…Oh! Wait! They did have beer…on draught, no less. One of the better lunches of the trip.

“Hippie” Winer

Tasting the 2013 Dry Riesling was like a trip back to Europe and the Rhine Valley for me.  The scent alone had me drifting on one of the barges that traffic the river and my minds eye was back looking at the castles above the vineyards.  Not too dry.  Not too sweet.  This was an excellent wine for the table.

“This Is The Life” Winer

My favorite part of this winery was Heather.  What a wealth of information she has to share! If you visit Red Newt, make sure to search her out. Oh….and the bistro…yummy food!

“Timeless” Winer

Couple of tours in Germany and I thought I knew all about Riesling.  It is either sweet or ridiculously sweet.  This Riesling from Red Newt was none of that and was a pleasure to drink.  The color was great and the scent was a delight.


2-Red Newt  12-Red Newt  31-Red Newt  21-Red Newt  25-Red Newt  10-Red Newt

The Winer’s Experience

 A very open feeling place, not cozy in any way because it is so spacious, but definitely welcoming. Made us feel like we were welcome to hang out as long as we wished.  Beautiful, serene atmosphere. They have a nice sized patio to take in the view and enjoy a glass of wine and some cuisine from their bistro.  Nice an large with ample bar space for tasting large groups. It has a nice airy feeling.
 Stupendous! You really should seek out Heather to serve your tasting as she is brilliantly full of information!  Extremely attentive and welcoming.  What DOESN’T Heather know? Ask her anything about wine or the local community and she is sure to know.

Vineyard & Winery Information

 Red Newt Cellars 3675 Tichenor Road, Hector,  NY 14841
Daily 11am – 5pm
Contact form on website (607) 546-4100
 Check calendar  Yes $5 for 6 tastes
 No  Yes – full menu


Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.