The Winery Part II – Kelby’s Story
In 2012, Kelby James Russell joined the Red Newt Team as an assistant winemaker. He brought with him a distinct passion for Riesling, similar to founding winemaker David Whiting. David began making Single Vineyard focused wines, and with Kelby on board that program has expanded. We believe that each vineyard site provides a unique sense of place with it’s own personality and soul. Each vintage our wines are a reflection of that time and space. Red Newt produces world class Rieslings, has a strong, diverse Cabernet Franc program and continues to produce Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Pinot Noir. In 2013, David Whiting passed the reins of winemaking to Kelby Russell and Assistant Winemaker Meagz Goodwin.
With the winemaking under Kelby’s direction, connections with our growers, and focus on the individual expressions of distinct vineyard sites became our priority. Today Kelby oversees the production of a stable of single vineyard designated Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris as well as limited quantities of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. In 2013 Kelby and Red Newt launched the “Kelby James Russell” winemaker signature series of wines. The first release was the KJR Cabernet Franc Rosé – a single vineyard selection from “Nutt Road Vineyards” on the west side of Seneca Lake. Red Newt’s reputation and distribution continues to grow with wines now available in most north-eastern states, select states in the midwest. Farther afield, find Red Newt in California, Belgium and the UK.
“The joy of making wine at Red Newt goes far beyond our Single Vineyard Rieslings,” says Kelby, “Our red wines are a constant surprise and delight for those visiting us, and that is to say nothing of our ‘hidden gems.'” Indeed, buried within our barrel stacks, many treasures can be found. Secret small lot wines, a robust sherry-style fortified line-up, and even a multi-vintage Sekt (Méthode Champenoise Riesling) program are all carefully being worked on at Red Newt. With these wines getting ready for release in the years to come, along with our continued passion for making inspiring, World Class Rieslings, there has never been a more exciting time to join us at Red Newt!