Wineries See a Sweet Future in Nevada
Nevada vintners are celebrating tonight, perhaps with a glass of wine. A new law signed by Governor Sandoval will allow for commercial wineries in Clark and Washoe Counties. Up until now those counties were excluded due to population. But that ban has been lifted. So has the ban on tasting rooms.
"Tasting rooms are critical to successful wineries," said Dr. Danny Hopper, a biochemist at the University of Nevada who has been working with a group called Wines and Vines. He also says there are more vines growing here than most people realize.
"We did a survey and found that there are about 25,000 vines already growing here in people's backyards. And we found a lot of support. There are definitely people here interested in commercial wineries right here in Reno," Hopper said.
There are already acres of experimental vines growing on the Nevada campus. Hopper says our weather is good for wine grapes with warm days and cool nights. And he says they are amazingly drought-tolerant.
The new law does impose some requirements for local grapes in the mix.
"Wineries will be able to bring in grapes from other states to get started. But after the first thousand cases go out they have to all include 25% juice from local fruit," Hopper says.
He says that may eventually need to be changed, but it does open up options for a business to develop that is already bringing in about $8-billion annually. And that could prove as sweet as a gewurztraminer...or even a moscato!