This story was updated after publication to reflect final attendance estimates. — GBN
The vintners at Basin and Range Cellars have officially popped the cork. The label’s grand opening on Saturday launched the second of three wineries approved to operate at Reno’s Wineries on 4th. Basin and Range partner Wade Johnston estimated 400 people had stopped by, although nobody associated with the event had counted. Story continues below…
Response to the wine was overwhelmingly positive, Johnston told GBN while he poured for visitors at the crowded bar.
“I’m happy to hear the feedback, and hear that people like it,” Johnston said.
“A long time coming,” added partner Joe Bernardo, a veteran northern Nevada grower and winemaker (and man of few words).
People who liked the wine were also purchasing. Sales seemed brisk, and Johnston seemed pleased, but said there was no formal sales goal for the day. The debut featured two whites, two reds, and a rose, priced from $6 – $10 by the glass, and $15- $22 per bottle. All the wines were produced from 100 percent Nevada fruit grown in Minden by Basin and Range. Story continues below…
The simultaneous unveiling of vintage 2016 and 2017 hints at some bumps in the road, including a setback that forced the partners to freeze their 2016 harvest while the principals at 4th Street persuaded the state of Nevada to bless a business structure allowing three wineries to coexist in the same space.
Sharing space and equipment – an arrangement called an alternating proprietorship – is recognized by federal authorities and legal for wineries in some states, but was prohibited in Nevada right up until the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session. A white knuckle ride to legalize it before the session ended sparked angst in the local wine community, where many viewed the 4th Street project as a milestone in their long campaign for legitimacy.
The fate of all three wineries hung in the balance until a last-minute legislative victory just days before the final gavel in Carson City. The grand opening of the property several months later with Nevada Sunset Winery operating solo was a triumph for Nevada wine, and a demonstration that small business seeking sensible regulation can prevail. Basin and Range now joins Nevada Sunset at 415 E. 4th Street. Next month, Great Basin Winery will debut in the same location.