Back when wine was a solely West Coast phenomenon, one enterprising winemaker rolled the dice in Rhode Island , where he surmised the cool microclimate could support vines similar to those in France’s Loire Valley. Founded in 1975, Sakonnet Vineyards (162 W. Main Rd., 800/919-4637, www.sakonnetwine.com , 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily late May–mid-Oct.; 11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily mid-Oct.–Dec. and Apr.–late May and Thurs.–Sun. Jan.–Mar., tours year-round at noon and 3 p.m.) has since been a smashing success—one of the first in New England, and still among the best.
Acres of grapevines produce several wines from the winery’s signature vidal blanc grape, a French-American hybrid with floral aromas and fresh acidity. Also notable is the aromatic gewürztraminer. The winery features tours, tastings, and an outdoor café with a menu specially created for pairings.