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Alternating Proprietorship is Legal; Craft Brew Production Limit Raised May 17, 2017 - UPDATED JUNE 9, 2017: The governor has signed Senate Bill 431, raising production limits on Nevada's craft brewers, and allowing wineries to operate as alternating proprietors, a business arrangement where up to four wineries can exist in a single location.

Planned Reno Winery in Legal Limbo; Change in Nevada Law Needed May 12, 2017 - A venture that planned to be city’s first urban winery sits in a state of legal limbo, months behind its construction schedule, and unable to get state approval to open for business. Now there may be a shot at changing the Nevada law that's keeping it dark. Click headline for the full story.
Craft Brew Barrelage Headed for Increase; Business Practices Mandate Roils Big Beer May 8, 2017 - It seems fairly certain Nevada craft brewers will get the green light to legally produce more beer. Big beer brands Anheuser Busch InBev and Miller Coors have put aside earlier objections to raising the production cap. But they've refocused their opposition on a legislative proposal aimed at preventing them from hindering craft beer sales with perverse incentives to distributors. Click headline for full story.
Nevada Alcohol Tax Hike Passes Senate Committee April 5, 2017 - Updated 8:00 p.m. -- A bill that would fund government-assisted heroin injection clinics passed its first hurdle today in the Nevada legislature. Senate Bill 181 would also boost drug courts and prison substance abuse treatment programs. A package of sin taxes would support the programs, including excise tax hikes of 50 percent on liquor, beer, and wine. Click headline for full story.
Pahrump Valley’s Bill Loken on Winery Success and Nevada Grown Grapes March 31, 2017 - Pahrump Valley Winery will soon start a 7,000 square foot expansion. Under Bill Loken’s management, with wife Gretchen in the winemaking role, the winery seems poised for long-term growth. Now Loken has undertaken a campaign to persuade Nevada farmers to abandon alfalfa in favor of grapes. Click headline for the full story.
Bills Stalled: Nevada Alcohol Manufacturers Find Raising Production Caps is a Heavy Lift March 30, 2017 - Nevada craft brewers and distillers are wrangling with the state’s major liquor distributors over legislation that would raise the amount of product they can legally make each year, while wineries have been excluded from the conversation. Click headline for the full story.

  • Wine School Team to Launch Urban Winery in Henderson May 4, 2017
    Students work in the barrel room at Grape Expectations in Henderson

    For a decade, Grape Expectations Nevada School of Winemaking has been teaching the art and science of making wine. The Henderson school offers class sessions twice annually featuring either Chilean or California grapes, depending on the season. Students get together in groups to make wine, supervised by Grape Expectations personnel.

    This fall, Grape Expectations management will launch a separate commercial venture to make and sell wine. Key word, they emphasize, is “separate.”

    Wineries with legal public tasting rooms are new to the state’s two largest counties. On both ends of the state, the applicants are getting a crash course in the legal intricacies of maintaining separate identities and physical separation between the new ventures and any existing operations with a liquor license. Such issues have stalled Washoe County’s first urban winery, which is now months behind schedule, according to a partner in the operation.

    The new Clark County winery – called Vegas Valley Winery – will sit in the same building with the school. It has its own address, and the tasting room has its own front door. Management has gone to great lengths to ensure it will be isolated from the student facility and the products produced there.

    “We are opening a winery, not becoming a winery,” said General Manager Mike Schoenbaechler, who became acutely aware of the degree to which Nevada’s Department of Taxation has a hand in approving public tasting facilities as he watched the neighboring breweries operate.

    No legal detail was too small to sweat when the group at Grape Expectations began to contemplate a opening a winery, Schoenbaechler said. They invited personnel from Taxation to tour the site and discuss proper execution.

    “We wanted separate entity, physical separation, separate address. We wanted all of that in order, just knowing that we didn’t want to run into any issues,” said Schoenbaechler

    “From day one when we started this project, we had (the taxation department) on board. Even when it was a pipe dream,” he said. “I think we’ve done everything right.”

    Grape Basin News recently toured the school, and the developing winery. The school’s large barrel room is adjacent to the winery’s locked bonded area. A chain link fence separates the two spaces.

    “Any wine that’s produced in here stays in here until it’s in the bottle, out of bond, and then at that point it’s able to be sold,” Schoenbaechler said, showing the small winery space.

    A trendy, but understated tasting room was nearly finished during the late March visit.

    At the same time, the management team was preparing for spring classes at Grape Expectations. Students starting this spring will take about nine months to produce and bottle wine from Chilean grapes.

    The process fosters teamwork and tight bonds among the winemakers and with the staff, says owner and self-described “Wine Wench” Patty Peters.

    “It’s the strangest business ever, because they all become family for us,” she said.

    The students come from all walks of life. Many are hobbyists, but some aspire to go professional, and all have had a hand in making some award-winning wines.

    It was students who urged Peters to keep Grape Expectation open after the sudden death in 2012 of its founder, her husband, Charlie Peters.

    “When they heard Charlie had passed, I just kept getting phone calls, one after another – ‘please don’t close, please don’t close. Keep it going,’” she told Grape Basin News.

    The school had been Charlie’s vision, and he was the expert. The current team, including Schoenbaechler and colleague K.J. Howe say they’d learned “just enough” about winemaking from Charlie Peters to keep it going after his passing.

    This fall, as Vegas Valley tasting room opens its doors, the Grape Expectation School of Winemaking will start its tenth year. Vegas Valley Winery expects to start with wines from other regions, but hopes to begin pouring its own Nevada-sourced product within a few years.

Grape Basin Exchange

  • The Grape Basin Exchange is a marketplace for the Nevada wine community. You can buy and sell wine, grapes, or equipment here. You can look for vineyard help or offer vineyard help. You can post announcements, and you can swap valuable information about growing and making wine. Posting on the exchange is free until further notice. HAVE A LOOK.