Nevada gets its first estate-bottled red

Nevada's oldest and largest winery has produced the state's first estate red wine, a first crush 2005 Zinfandel called "Nevada Ridge."

Owners Bill and Gretchen Loken's Pahrump Valley Winery usually produces wines from grapes purchased in California, specifically the Paso Robles, Monterey, Sonoma, Napa and Lodi grape-growing regions. "Nevada Ridge" was made completely from grapes grown on the Pahrump grounds.

In an interview with the local Pahrump Valley Times newspaper, Bill Loken said, "There's never been a bottle of wine ever made at the winery from grapes that were grown here -- ever."

However, "he qualified his remarks, adding it's 'believed to be' the first red estate wine ever grown in Nevada, since Frank 'Pop' Buol grew grapes in Pahrump in the 1930s. But little is known about Chateau Buol other than it was bonded by the federal government."

Pahrump Valley Winery currently produces about 10,000 cases of wine annually, or about 120,000 bottles.

About 1.5 tons of zinfandel grapes were picked in mid-August of 2005, which amounts to about four barrels. The first crush will produce about 100 cases, or about 1,100 bottles, which will be priced at about $75 a bottle.

"To my knowledge this is the first commercial red wine ever produced in the state of Nevada. It marks the beginning point for an industry that has potential," Loken said in the interview.

An estate white wine was produced at Churchill Vineyards in Fallon, NV.

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