“It’s been two years in the making,” said Joe Bernardo.
Bernardo stood in the parking lot of the 4th Street Wineries and watched a crew push cases of Basin and Range Brianna from the rear door of a mobile bottling plant. The plain, white cartons moved from a conveyor belt to a stacked pallet, where Basin and Range partner Wade Johnston guided a forklift into place.
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Bernardo and Johnston expected that by the end of the day they’d pack up 950 cases of their sweet, white Brianna and a Frontenac Rose. They’ve planned a separate bottling session in March for 450 cases of Frontenac and St. Croix reds.
Bottling day marks a new chapter for Basin and Range, whose 2016 harvest was unexpectedly put into frozen storage when their shared 4th Street location faced a series of construction delays and licensing challenges. The Basin and Range winemaking effort remained in limbo until last August.
“A long time getting here, long time getting the equipment, a long time getting the wine made,” Bernardo said. “Now we’re nine-tenths of the way there.”
The two bottling sessions — 1,400 cases by the end of March — includes vintage 2016 and vintage 2017.
Basin and Range will hold off its tasting room debut until all its varietals are ready to pour, likely in the early summer.
“I don’t want to rush the reds,” Johnston told GBN. “They could still sit in the bottle for a little bit.”
The brand will be offered in the same 4th Street tasting room that’s been inhabited since last fall by Nevada Sunset Winery. The two wineries operate in the same building under a recently-legalized business arrangement called an alternating proprietorship. A third winery, Great Basin Winery, LLC, is also located there, and has yet to debut its wine.
Prices for the Basin and Range products haven’t been determined. Bernardo and Johnston will host tastings to gauge response to the wine before pricing it, Bernardo told GBN.