Sample Local Brews and Spirits at the Nevada Small Farm Conference

The Nevada Small Farm Conference will feature a Farm to Flask workshop at the 2018 conference. Speakers from Bentley Heritage in Minden and Seven Troughs Distilling in Sparks will discuss harvesting and malting. Ron Godin from the University of Colorado will share a decade of experience working with hops growers. Local products will be available for sampling.

The conference is at the Nugget on February 2-3. Earlybird registration fee is $95 per person, or $105 after January 12. Full conference schedule and registration here.

December 2017 marks 84 years since the end of Prohibition
December 10

The federal prohibition amendment banned the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” This month, we celebrate the anniversary of its repeal. Americans are free to make, sell, transport (and consume) alcohol, with the regulatory authority assumed by the states. Reason Magazine celebrates, but also points out the many ways prohibition is alive and well. Examples include the nation’s 200 dry counties, bans on Happy Hour specials, and don’t forget case limits — Nevada’s own restriction on beer, wine, and spirits producers.

Surviving California Wineries Need Visitors — Most Tasting Rooms Open for Business
October 23

California Wine Country tourism officials are working hard to spread the word — recovery involves more than rebuilding the fire-ravaged communities. Financial survival for the wineries depends on getting back to business. San Francisco Chronicle reports that while international tourism is important, regional visits are bread-and-butter. In business terms, the industry may have more to fear from a dearth of regional traffic than from fire-related destruction, some say.

Ferrari-Carano Mourns Patriarch
October 9

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery mourns the passing of Don Carano, winery founder and a Nevada powerhouse in business and law. Read the winery’s obituary and salute to his life and business success here.

Vegas Valley Winery Up and Running in Henderson

Steve La-Sky, a.k.a Fireman Steve, was alone in the Vegas Valley Winery tasting room at 4 p.m. on a recent Wednesday afternoon, but this was an apparently brief post-holiday respite. In the past month, he’s tended to crowds of Golden Knights fans and Christmastime visitors. And the winery’s true grand opening is still weeks away.

“Fireman” Steve La-Sky pours the impressive Vegas Vally Winery Syrah on January 3, 2018. photo: @GrapeBasinNews

Vegas Valley is Clark County’s first urban winery, a new venture by the management of Grape Expectations Nevada School of Wine. The tasting room is next door to the school, where several thousand alumni are a built-in constituency. Business has been brisk for an establishment that’s still in “soft opening” mode and selling only by the glass.

The team will ramp up to bottle sales as they’re able to unveil the wine in the production pipeline.

“We have only so much inventory,” marketing director K.J. Howe told GBN. “There’s more wine in the barrel being aged, but the amount we can sell will be determined after grand opening.”

The best seller is Vegas Valley’s 2014 Paso Robles Syrah, but La-Sky and Howe say the Rose is also popular.

“We can’t keep it in stock,” Howe says of the 2015 Gamay Rose. He notes that Rose as a category was dead for decades because, he says, it was essentially an afterthought made with leftovers. It’s been revived as winemakers have taken a more deliberate approach.

“You could make it spritzy, you could make it dry, you can make it sweet, you can make it any way you want.” he said. “We make it middle of the road.” The tasting notes indicate a “lingering finish of watermelon Jolly Ranchers.”

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The wall hanging at Vegas Valley Winery, created from barrel staves by production manager Chad Evans. The hardwood-look floor is actually concrete. Wall tiles were created by a friend of the winery who teaches art. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

Two whites and a Zin fill out the list. A broader assortment sits in the winery’s bonded area, waiting to be rolled out over the coming year.

The room has a low-key artsy touches created by the Grape Expectations winemaking community. A concrete floor has been finished to look like hardwood. Tiles on the face of the bar were crafted by an art teacher friend. Production manager Chad Evans,  also a skilled carpenter, created an exquisite wall hanging from barrel staves.

Vegas Valley Winery is located in a light industrial district of Henderson, open seven days a week.