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.
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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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.