Red Newt Cellars, founded by David and Debra Whiting in 1998, is located on the east side of Seneca Lake in the hamlet of Hector in the Finger Lakes region of New York. David and Debra have been described as “untrammeled lovers of the Finger Lakes scene” (source: The Wine Spectator), which couldn’t be more true. The two met in the late 1980s, and at the 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. This career expanded through three of the most exciting and progressive decades of the Finger Lake wine industry, which is how he made a name for himself as one of the top winemakers in the region. Debra’s path led her into a gourmet cheesecake business and then an upscale catering business. David started Red Newt’s wine production in 1998. The following summer, Debra opened the Red Newt Bistro on the same property with the goal of building relationships with local farms and producers and fostering the concept and practice of regional cuisine. With her life cut short on June 30th, 2011, the Debra Whiting Foundation has since been formed to carry on Debra’s vision and commitment to wine, food, farms, families and community.
Red Newt Cellars represents 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.