Dave’s Story

“The story really begins in the early eighties.  I had graduated from SUNY Binghamton armed with a freshly minted BS in biology.  I had not intentions at the time of continuing in grad school, and hadn’t really been hit over the head with any ambitious plans, so I loaded up everything I owned in my VW camper and started driving.  It was late November, as I recall, so my plan was to drive south until it got warm, then turn right.

During about a 6 month jaunt on the west coast squatting with parents and family, and travelling/living in my VW camper, I developed  and  returned to the Finger Lakes to follow my dream… to be in the wine business. Being dead broke, I secured a job in a local vineyard (actually a good place to start a career in wine) as a vineyard laborer. Jobs included ‘suckering,’  fruit thinning, pruning, pulling brush, digging holes, and so on. It didn’t pay much, but I do look back fondly on that kinder, simpler era of my life.”

Following a passion for food and wine, David continued his oenological career as winemaker at three different wineries in the Finger Lakes. David is one of the top winemakers in the Finger Lakes Region. His career spans three of the most exciting and progressive decades of the Finger Lakes wine industry, including winemaking at McGregor, Chateau Lafayette Reneau, Swedish Hill Vineyards, and Standing Stone Vineyards.

When the opportunity arose in 1998, David started wine production with the 1998 vintage and the following summer Debra opened the Red Newt Bistro concurrent with the first wine releases in June of 1999. Red Newt Cellars represented the achievement of David and Debra’s longtime goal to combine their efforts and expertise in the exploration of regional wine and cuisine. Their focus was on not only producing exceptional wines and food, but also creating a synergy between them. The current production at Red Newt Cellars is approximately 20,000 cases with the white wine focus on aromatic varieties: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. “Circle” Riesling, Red Newt’s most popular and widely distributed wine, shows off a classic Finger Lakes style, expressing bright aromas of tangerine and honeysuckle and an elegant palate of citrus and peach. The wine – and the price – are great, and represent one of the best value Rieslings in North America. Red varietals include Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir.


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