So what does this mean?
Well, it was 21 years ago that I, along with my late wife and partner Debra Whiting, founded Red Newt… actually our first crush was the fall of 1998, but we opened the doors to the winery and bistro on June 27th, 1999.
A lot has happened since then.
In 2012, Kelby Russell joined the winemaking team. By 2014 he had taken over primary responsibilities and set to assembling his current winemaking team of assistant winemaker Meagz Goodwin and cellarmaster James Anderson. The wines of Red Newt remain true to our original goals of finding and expressing a sense of place. And our original commitment to Riesling has become more intense. On top of this, there are layers of insight and innovation from Kelby and his team that set Red Newt on the global Riesling stage.
For the first 13 years Debra was a pioneering leader of the farm to table food movement in the FLX. After her passing in 2011, the Bistro was in for an earth-moving change. We continued at warp speed chasing the 100% localvore grail, elevating the dining experience and leading the region. In 2014, being largely independent from the winemaking operation, I stepped into the kitchen to refocus and regroup. The bistro changed its face from a full service localvore restaurant serving lunch and dinner to an informal lunch spot… still utilizing meats and produce from our local farms, but serving delicious, informal food without fanfare. For the next five years the Bistro was in a holding pattern. Albeit serving delicious lunchtime fare, but lacking longer term vision and goals.
This year, with the Bistro 21 years old, I have decided to step back into the kitchen and set the new course. Debra Whiting’s last dinner service was in 2011. A few months before that she had finalized an agreement for publishing her cookbook. Debra’s passion was in the Bistro kitchen and she put a ton of work into it and her cookbook, which would chronicle over a decade of cooking at Red Newt. I’ll be taking the helm of the restaurant again and rolling out fresh new menus that reflect our passion for food. More importantly, 2021 will mark 10 years since Debra’s passing, and it is time to finish the project she started.
You’ll continue to see some recent favorites, but in addition you’ll be seeing new daily specials pulled from the Red Newt archives. Some of these delectably delicious dishes will be exactly as you remember, some will be prepared as Debra “would have done.” If you dined in the Bistro in the old days and remember a favorite dish, please let me know. I hope you will come in often to visit, join us at our monthly Winemaker Dinners, and enjoy some new tastes and perhaps some fond memories from over a decade ago.
David Whiting – Red Newt founding winemaker