Red Newt Cellars & Bistro Review
Address: 3675 Tichenor Rd. Hector,New York 14841.
Phone Number: 607-546-4100
Tasting Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00-5:00, Sun 11:00-5:00
Region: Finger Lakes AVA, Seneca Lake AVA, New York
Reviewer: Caroline Helper
Review Date: 2/24/2012
Reviewer: Caroline Helper
Red Newt Cellars is the winery attached to one of the Finger Lakes most well-known and beloved restaurants, Red Newt Bistro. Because of its attachment to Red Newt Bistro, a locally-driven restaurant, there is a significant focus on making wines that are especially food-friendly and made to play a supporting rather than a starring role at the table.
The Place:  Red Newt Cellars has a nice tasting room spacious, updated, and pleasant attached to the main restaurant. Much like everywhere else in the Finger Lakes, theres not too much thats too fancy about the tasting room or the restaurant but theres not much to complain about, either especially after a glimpse of Seneca Lake. The wines at Red Newt are solid, but it is the local-driven cuisine that is really the star at Red Newt.
The Experience:  Comfortable, friendly, and relaxed are all words that describe the vibe and approach to both food and wine. While there is certainly an emphasis on quality, it comes without a hint of pretention. There is also a sense of pride of place that is refreshing and gives a good sense of how the winemakers of the region view themselves and their wines. Red Newt is somewhat of an institution in the Finger Lakes and no visit to the region would be truly complete without a trip.
The Wines:  Red Newt Cellars makes wines that are solid and dependable especially as mere accessories to the bistros stellar food. They are generally fairly middle-of-the-road compared to other wineries offerings neither notably bad nor exceptional. They are pleasant and probably much more exciting for the novice wine taster, looking for an approachable and completely non-intimidating tasting experience. However, the wines do have a focus on being especially food-friendly, so if youre planning to stay for lunch or dinner, they are a must-try.
Extras:  Red Newt Bistro is one of the best places to enjoy a meal in the Finger Lakes. However, during the busy season, the wait for a table can be long. To ameliorate the situation, the bistro offers bites in the tasting room as part of their Wine Salon, as well as boxed gourmet lunches that, at $12.95, are great to grab-and-go. The tasting fee for the winery is $5 per person allows for a taste of the full line of current releases.
Insiders Tip:  Skip the winery and head straight for the bistro. Order a glass of Red Newt Cellars Riesling or Gewurztraminer to go with your meal and indulge in local ingredients that dont come from the vineyard.