Could Commercial Wineries be in Nevada's Future? - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Could Commercial Wineries be in Nevada's Future?

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Charlotte and Dennis Eckmeyer have a backyard just off of the Mt. Rose Highway. They have about 50 vines growing and they have a great name for the Chardonnay they bottle: "CharDen-Ay."  And while they are happy just to grow enough for themselves and for friends, they are part of the support for establishing a commercial winery business here.

"We helped them plant 3,000 wine vines at the University and we are also going to help lobby to get the laws changed here so that it would be allowed to establish wineries here," Char says.

Dr. Grant Cramer is on-board as well. He's a biochemist at UNR who studies wine grapes in the high desert and he says it could be worth millions to our economy.

"The climate in Nevada is great for growing wine grapes. They like it cool and they like it dry. The vines are almost like weeds; they grow anywhere except where the soil is too moist," Cramer says.

There are 13 varieties growing at UNR right now, about half red and half white. And as they continue to experiment with types, there is another movement growing. And that's an interest by backyard vineyard growers and entrepreneurs to change Nevada's laws to allow the industry to flourish. It's called Vines and Wines.

"Right now it's not legal to have commercial wineries in counties with populations over 100,000 people. So we plan to go to the legislature to have that changed this year," Char Eckmeyer tells me.

Vines and Wines is holding an event with self-guided tours of the vineyards here and at UNR, and a wine tasting at the Garden Shop Nursery in west Reno afterward. It's Sunday from 11 am - 4pm. You can get more information and tickets at http://www.nvandw.com/Backyard_Vineyard_Tour.html
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