New Vineyard Takes Shape High Above Reno

A vineyard in its earliest stage, like a caterpillar, offers no hint that it will transform into something beautiful. It’s just a lot of lumpy, rocky furrows, crawling like fat, brown worms across the earth. This vineyard is the length of a football field, crosscut by a wide dirt lane, which in two years will be a driveway, leading to a home with a stunning view of everything from Sparks to the Geiger Grade. Story continues below…

Dan Shore’s Reno vineyard looking north and east in June, 2018. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

The vineyard-in-progress and surrounding property belong to Dan Shore, principal at Shore Management and Development, whose recent foray into winemaking inspired the project — a home perched above the city, with hundreds of vines, a cellar, and space for winemaking. The house is on the drawing board, to be complete some time in 2020. The property sits just south of Windy Hill in the private community called Anitra, directly beneath the glass-front gaze of the home belonging to gaming executive John Farahi.

Shore plans to sell some of his grapes, and use some for non-commercial winemaking. He is thus far underwhelmed by the economics of Nevada viticulture, but contemplates adding more vineyards in the future. There’s also an olive grove in the plan, for olive oil and other specialty products. Processing olives is more a hobby than a business, he told GBN. Story continues below…

Vineyard in progress sits directly beneath the home of gaming executive John Farahi. Photo:@GrapeBasinnews

Veteran viticulturist Joe Bernardo and crew worked nonstop on the vineyard through the month of June. First the digging, which unearthed a massive load of boulders and more than once taxed his faithful 35-year-old tractor to the point of a breakdown. Next, water lines were laid. A specialty compost was delivered, and at last, the planting – 850 vines, five reds and two whites, which two years from now will flank the driveway of the hillside home. Story continues below…

Three-man crew: Cory Rizzolo, Dennis McDonald, and Joe Bernardo, at work on the Shore vineyard in June of 2018. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

Shore met Bernardo through Nevada Vines & Wines. Bernardo had logged 20 years planting and tending vines at the University of Nevada’s Valley Road vineyard and at the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station. More recently, he’s produced the 12-ton crop at the heart of a new commercial venture, Basin and Range Cellars. A separate vineyard at his home serves as the base for a wine academy sponsored by Nevada Vines & Wines. Story Continues below…

Joe Bernardo fills the trench where a water line was laid in June of 2018. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

Notwithstanding such substantial expertise, Bernardo says he underestimated the challenge this project would present. The assignment includes a mandate to maintain the contour of the hill, and the soil is among the rockiest Northern Nevada has to offer. The project expanded to fill the month.

At the end of June, the naked vines are mostly planted, hidden beneath paper sleeves. By August, Bernardo says, the leaves will peak over the tops of the sleeves. Aesthetically, the vines will take shape well ahead of the house, and they may bear usable fruit by 2021. 

CORRECTION: This story has been edited. GBN originally reported that Dan Shore was referred to Joe Bernardo by the University of Nevada.

Sleeved vines as the Shore vineyard project progresses in June of 2018. Photo:@GrapeBasinNews

 

Shore vineyard in progress in June of 2018; Preserving the slope was part of the mandate. Photo:@GrapeBasinNews