A primary component of Greenvale’s mission is the preservation of it’s historic grounds and structures. While the vineyard operates to preserve the historic landscape, the buildings at Greenvale have been maintained and restored to provide visitors a cultural time capsule of historic New England.
Architect rendering Wilson Architects 1999
The Stable (1863)
Built in 1863, the stable originally served not only as a carriage house but also as an architectural prototype for the house built shortly after, 1865. The style, known as “Stick Style,” is expressed through asymmetry, exposed framing members and “X’s” beneath the windows. The 40 X 60 structure provided three levels of space, an upper hayloft, a central level for horses and carriages and a lower level for tools. By the 1990’s, the stable was deteriorating and the vineyard was in need of a venue in which to serve our newest crop: wine. So with the help of Wilson Architects, Boston, and Jenkins Construction, Middletown, we restored the stable to become our tasting room. Work included regrading to insure handicap access, removal of the collapsing hay loft and a new truss system to support the expansive roof. The 40 X 60 structure provided three levels of space, an upper hayloft, a central floor for horses and carriages and a lower level for tools.
Although it is a great venue for tastings, concerts and events, the original horse stalls still stand and are used as employee work spaces.
The Farm (1863)
One enters the original farm from a long driveway off of Wapping Road, passing our newest vineyards on Greenvale’s western edge and neighboring farmland. Visitors pass through a white fence and discover the stable and Farmhouse amidst the vineyards on the north and south sides of the driveway. The lane continues through the Red Gates to the Main House which is open only for private events.
The “County Life” concept proposed a farm setting that was purposeful productive agriculture, organized around ornamental driveways and living structures.
The Main House (1865)
The picturesque architecture of the main house consists of delicately scaled jerkin headed rook forms in a diagonally patterned slate roof with vertical brick chimneys. The two-story structure presents dynamic views on all four sides and creates an impression of both a working farm and a secluded retreat.
GREENVALE FARM AND VINEYARDS THROUGH THE YEARS
Aaron Lopez grows grapes in the colonial era.
Aaron Lopez was a successful colonial merchant, known as the Merchant of Newport. He was also famous as one of the Founders of America’s first Synagogue, Touro Synagogue, in Newport and a benefactor of the Redwood Library. He was from the Azores and grew grapes on land now owned by Greenvale Vineyards located at the top of the driveway. The wine was used for the celebrations at Touro Synagogue. At Greenvale’s base on the water, there was a Ferry to Tiverton. The water in front of Greenvale was known as Lopez Bay, and Lopez was known to dock his ships there to unload his merchandise and store on his farm at the top of the driveway. Lopez Bay is currently a sheltered cove north of Black Point. When the British occupied the Island from December of 77 to December of 79, Lopez left the Island and British officers lived in his house and built barracks for 200 soldiers on his property. This also prevented the colonists from using the ferry landing as a landing point for the colonists.
In the mid 19th century, family ancestor John Barstow created a “grand and purposeful ornamental farm” and continued the name Greenvale. Barstow grew up in Salem and was the descendant of the ship building family in Mattapoisett. The Barstows built whaling vessels and merchant vessels. Barstow also had relatives in Salem who were part of the China trade. His father Gideon Barstow was a physician and state senator. When John Barstow retired from the China Trade at the age of 38, he adopted Copeland’s “Country Life” concept to create his own 60 acre bucolic retreat on the east side of the island facing the Sakonnet River. Enlisting the architect John Hubbard Sturgis who later was the architect for the Museum of Fine Arts in Copley Square (non extant) and the Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill (extant), he created a harmonious composition of wood buildings in a secluded estate setting. Barstow’s library is preserved at Newport’s Redwood Library and is considered one of the most important collections of Victorian books in the United States.
1917 to 1982
After the first generation, three generations of Parkers maintained the property as an active, year round, farm starting with Barstow’s niece, Charlotte Condit Parker and her husband, Major General James Parker. This first generation of Parkers and second generation of family hired Frank Silvia whose family had recently moved to Aquidneck Island from the Azores. Mr. Silvia stayed at Greenvale until 1979. The third generation was also retired military, the fourth generation retired journalists, and the fifth and sixth generation, active framers. As a result of the continuity, the property has maintained its original Victorian feel today. The original structures have been carefully preserved, restored and maintained. The whole farm was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 1980.
Cortlandt Parker, John Barstow’s great great nephew, called Sakonnet Vineyards and asked if they would like to buy fruit from us if we were to grow it. Cort Parker had been growing his own grapes since the 1960’s when he planted Marechal Foch. Greenvale Vineyards was then established.
1989 to 2019
By 1989, Greenvale Vineyards had 14 acres planted. Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc and Cayuga. Cort and Nancy Parker believed that protecting the land was paramount. With assistance from daughter Nancy and her husband Bill, and under the direction of Larry Perrine—a wine and vineyard consultant from Long Island, now President of Channing Daughters—Greenvale started to produce their own wines with the first release of Chardonnay in 1995 and the first release of Cab Franc in 1998. The 1995 Cabernet Franc was featured in the Magazine Gourmet in 1998, a breakthrough for Red wines in New England.
By 1998 it was clear that the wines had received enough national recognition the Parker and Wilsons could feel comfort in restoring the beautiful stable into the Tasting Room, the centerpiece of the operation today. The restoration led by Bill Wilson and his office, Wilson Architects, the award winning stable restoration is a great example of adaptive reuse and a source of pride of the Greenvale operation.
Greenvale Today – A Destination – six generation property and third generation winery
Third generation, Bill Wilson has introduced new viticultural techniques – healthier and more sustainable. He and his mother, Nancy manage the operation. The Vineyard is run by Hever Ortega who joined Greenvale in 1991 and Richard Carmichael is the winemaking consultant who mentors Bill. Richard was the winemaker at Greenvale from 1997-2018, and helped Hever to establish Greenvale’s reputation as an operation that produces exceptional wines.