The Russell family, founders of Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, admit that what they’ve devoted themselves to doing in New England since 1986 is out of the ordinary: “Without boldness in the vineyard, wine can never be revolutionary…,” their brochure states. “[And] it is emboldened madness to grow grapes for wine in Massachusetts.” Yet that madness, along with sustainable practices and involvement by the whole family, has produced some award–winning wines like the sparkling Brut Cuvée “RJR” (Gold Medal, 1990, the American Wine Society) the Blanc de Blancs (Gold Medal, 2012 Grand Harvest Awards), as well as a respected Grace Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, and more. Fans range from grill master Chris Schlesinger, who has a home nearby, to New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov.
Carol Russell, from a family of upstate New York vintners, and Bob Russell, retired from his job as a high-tech metallurgist, wanted to foster something that spoke not only to their heritage but to preserving the agricultural land surrounding them. Their 400 acres on the South Coast of Massachusetts is testament to both, with sons Rob (who plants and tends the vines) and Bill (who makes the wine) carrying the Westport torch of inspired vineyard madness into the future.