When you think of Nevada, wineries probably don’t come to mind, but grapes have been growing here for more than 150 years. Our warm, dry climate is actually ideal for grapes, which require much less water than other crops.
Today Nevada is home to a burgeoning and booming wine industry. Vineyards are cropping up throughout the state with a handful of wineries offering tastings.
Here’s a look at some of the innovative wine pioneers who are transforming Nevada into its own little wine country.
Pahrump Valley Winery - Pahrump
Nevada’s oldest winery, Pahrump Valley Winery has been run by Bill and Gretchen Loken since 2003. The estate is home to three vineyards on 10 acres, producing nearly 30 tons of grapes per harvest. With 325 national wine awards, its 2005 Zinfandel was Nevada’s first commercial red wine as well as Nevada’s first Gold medal winner for a home grown wine.
Tastings at the winery, 3810 Winery Road, are offered seven days a week. Sip on fruit-forward, easy-drinking varietals, take a tour and be sure to grab lunch or dinner at the winery’s casually upscale Symphony’s Restaurant.
Pahrump Valley Winery works closely with other Nevada vineyards to harvest and produce quality wines. Partnering vineyards include Queensland Vineyard, Dryer; Nelson Vineyard, Amargosa Valley; School Lane Vineyards, Amargosa; and Veronica’s Vineyard, Crystal Heights.
Sanders Family Winery - Pahrump
Jack Sanders operates Sanders Family Winery on the southern side of Pahrump, 3780 E. Kellogg Road. A true desert wine pioneer, his family has grown grapes in Pahrump for almost 30 years.
As the story goes, when Sanders first began growing grapes at his original property (now Pahrump Valley Winery), the crops were eaten by wild horses. Needless to say, the Sanders Family Winery estate is surrounded by a large gate. Sanders Family Winery offers free wine tastings daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its serene location, surrounded by mountains. It also is home to a performing arts center showcasing, plays, concerts and musicals.
Churchill Vineyards - Fallon
Churchill Vineyards is located on the historic Frey Ranch in the high desert region of Lahontan Valley. The facility, 1045 Dodge Lane, was established in 2001 and bottled its first wine in 2004.
At the winery, fifth generation Nevada farmer Colby P. Frey produces 100 percent estate-grown white wines, including Reisling, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay-Semillon, as well as other vintages and spirits. The winery welcomes guests to stop by for a tour and a tasting (just be sure to make an appointment first).
Queensland Vineyard Bed & Breakfast - Dryer
Queensland Vineyard Bed & Breakfast is also an alfalfa and lavender farm. Owned and operated by William and Joyce Hartman, the pet-friendly guest rooms of the bed and breakfast each have wine themes while a delicious full breakfast is served every day. Those who stay during harvest time enjoy special tastings. Guests can also arrange in advance to do tastings of wines made from Queensland Vineyard grapes (produced at Pahrump Valley Winery).
Queensland Vineyard is located near downtown Dyer on Bill Hartman Ranch, located off Highway 264 between mile mark eight and nine. The 7-acre vineyard produces eight varieties of wine grapes, five red and three white.
Tahoe Ridge Winery – Carson City
Tahoe Ridge Winery and Bistro, 1105 S. Carson Street, includes a tasting room,restaurant and store with wines, olive oils and vinegars. Wines come from the winery’s own vineyard as well as partnering vineyards in Fallon, Yerington and Smith Valley.
Tahoe Ridge Winery offers tastings every Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Turns out Nevada is the perfect destination for a little weekend wine tasting. Are you ready to take some sips in the Silver State?