Growing a Wine Industry in Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Growing a Wine Industry in Nevada

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 Vintners in Washoe County are on a mission. They hope to help grow a new industry in Nevada. And their first step is to change the laws to allow it.

Current Nevada Law says that commercial production and selling of wine is prohibited in counties with more that 100-thousand people. That pretty much rules out both Washoe and Clark Counties. But local vintners know that wine could be a very productive and advantageous industry for this area.

"If you compare it to growing alfalfa with is our biggest crop it's a much better investment all around," says the President of the Nevada Wine Coalition, Dennis Eckmeyer. "For starters wine grapes use a lot less water. An acre of alfalfa takes 54 inches of water a year to grow and sells for  about $2500. That same acre of wine grapes takes only 4 inches of water to grow and can be sold for $7700."

He says while he dabbles in growing and making wine himself he has no plans of operating a winery.

"I want to help create jobs and put people to work. I'm doing this because it would be such a good thing for the state."

He estimates that a wine industry would put 2 and a half people to work for every acre of grapes. And that's just the beginning.

"After the field workers you have those who manufacture the fermentation tanks, the bottlers the servers. I mean there's a huge trickle down."

UNR has been experimenting with wine grapes for 18 years now and officials there say we have great conditions for some varieties.

The only opposition so far has been from Assemblyman James Oscarson of Pahrump.

The legislature is expected to take it up early in the session.

Written by Erin

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