Red Newt Cellars is located on the east side of Seneca Lake in the hamlet of Hector in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Red Newt Cellars was founded in 1998 by David and Debra Whiting. Wine production was started with the 1998 vintage with a mere 1,200 cases of Chardonnay, Riesling, Vidal, Cayuga, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The first white wines were released at the grand opening of the winery and restaurant in July of 1999.
Debra and David have received recognition from local and regional press as well as from national publications such as Food and Wine, Nations Restaurant News, and Wine Spectator. Recently, Red Newt Cellars has been named among Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 2011 Top 100 wineries of the year. The Wine Spectator describes David and Debra as “untrammeled lovers of the Finger Lakes scene,” and it couldn’t be more true. David and Debra Whiting met in the late 1980s. At that time David was working as cellar master at a Finger Lakes winery while Debra was supervising microbiology labs at Cornell University. Following a passion for food and wine, David continued his oenological career as winemaker at three different wineries in the Finger Lakes. Debra’s path led her into a gourmet cheesecake business and then an upscale catering business. 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.