Kickstarter Campaign rolls out for Vineyard in Reno

I'm proud to be the first participant in the Kickstarter campaign to create a vineyard and winery promoting Nevada Vines & Wines; read about it here..

The intro email:  "Here we are, Ryan and Danny sitting in the winery, asking you to take a look at our proposal.  CABNR and Nevada Vines &Wines have struck a deal to build a vineyard in Reno.  You are invited.  If you like our plan, help out with a tax free donation or some supporting comments.

The best way to create excitement about a new project according to Kickstarter is to generate some funding right away.  So, if you intend to support Nevada Vines & Wines with a year end tax deductible donation, please do so right away."

Through my Wine Time column in The Tahoe Weekly, I keep an eye on Nevada's developing wine industry.  This is a great step in the right direction!


Thanksgiving Wines - in Tahoe and Beyond

Tahoe House on the West Shore offers “everything but the turkey” for Thanksgiving on an advance-order/take-out basis, and their wine selection to go with Thanksgiving foods is as well thought out and varied as their Thanksgiving menu.

I’d opt right away for a bottle of the Seaglass 2011 Monterey County Riesling.  This is a great wine as an aperitif, light and refreshing.  Flavor of peach and pear, with aroma of honey and fragrant flowers are what greet you in the glass, with a sweet fruitiness.  The vibrant blue bottle in which it is packaged also sets a festive mood for the feast to come.  13 percent alcohol.  $16.99 the bottle.

The 2011 California Pinot Noir from Mark West is a tasty and affordable wine for those who like red wine with turkey.   This is a delicate and juicy red wine with medium body.  Flavor and aroma of  raspberry, sweet cherry, and nutmeg spice makes this Pinot Noir a great pairing with turkey.  It is complex, fruity and silky.  13.8 percent alcohol.  $9.99 the bottle.

If some of your guests will want a white wine with your turkey, that’s a good choice too.  Reach for the 2012 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley.  Turkey, specially the basted and infused preparations so popular at Thanksgiving, will pair well with the minerality of a Sauvignon Blanc.  The color is a straw yellow, and aroma is grapefruit, tangelo, quince, mint, basil and pear.  The winemaker notes a taste of kiwi and lime zest, and, on the mid palate, more flavor of lemon, peach, honey and a touch of grassiness.  The finish is bright and clean. 13.2 percent alcohol.  $17.99 the bottle.

To end the meal with the classic pies and other goodies, I recommend two choices:  a rose or a dessert wine.  The Stags’ Leap 2011 Napa Amparo Rose, Napa Valley, is a vibrant pink that leads you to expect its aroma of raspberry and then melon.  Flavor is of wild strawberry and a touch of pomegranate, with some creaminess and a hint of caramel.  It is refreshing with a nice finish.     14.1 percent alcohol.  $23.99 the bottle.

A classic dessert wine, one of my favorites is the Cline Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2006.  It has a wonderful mouth-coating flavor of dark berries, strawberry, coffee and chocolate, with a vanilla smoothness, soft tannins and a long lingering finish.  14.5 percent alcohol.  $10.99 for a 375 ml bottle.

Oh, by the way, Tahoe House does offer the turkey too – free range Diestel turkeys have to be ordered well in advance and cooked at home.  Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet is located at 625 W. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City.  530-583-1377.

And, if you have turkey leftovers, making a salad with cooked turkey chunks, celery, grapes and walnuts, with mayo or sour cream, is a great treat.  I suggest you pair it with an Italian Chardonnay.  Pomino Bianco 2012, from the Marchesa de’ Frescobaldi estate near Florence, is a recently-promoted Italian white wine It will, of course, accompany a Thanksgiving feast magnificently!  A few notes from the winery:  Pomino Bianco comes from one of Tuscany’s most renowned areas for the production of high-quality wine; it is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco grapes that have been at home in Pomino for many years.”  l liked its intense yellow color, and the aroma of white flowers like lily of the valley and jasmine, with apple and pear.  It is a balanced and fresh wine, with delicate minerality, and a long and lovely finish.  It was fermented primarily in stainless steel, with the riper grapes fermented in French oak.  The winemaker tells an interesting story about the exciting harvest of the Chardonnay in this wine:  without precedent … gathered during an extremely prolonged stormy period of weather that gave us a thousand and one inflections.” 12..5 percent alcohol.  $17.99 suggested retail price.  Available at

Nevada Wines and, now, Brandy from Churchill Vineyards

Family-owned estate winery, Churchill Vineyards, releases Silver State’s first legally-distilled spirit
Churchill Vineyards, the only estate winery and first legal distillery in Nevada, released Churchill Vineyards Brandy, Nevada’s first legally-distilled spirit, for retail purchase on November 2. Churchill Vineyards, owned and operated by 5th generation Nevadan Colby Frey and wife Ashley, expanded their already successful winery business into the spirits market providing Nevada’s first and oldest legally commercial distilled spirit.

Colby Frey, winemaker
“This is a very exciting time for the expansion of our business,” said Colby Frey. “We’ve been aging the brandy in premium French oak barrels for five years, allowing us to use the prestigious V.S.O.P. designation. Since 2006, we have been experimenting with our Nevada grapes, grains and other Nevada grown products to produce high quality spirits. With the passage of recent legislation, we are now able to sell our long aged spirits.”


The distilling equipment
Frey handcrafted and distilled the brandy in small batches using the same grapes used to produce Churchill Vineyards’ esteemed wines. The quality of the brandy can be seen in the natural amber hue, characterizing the extraction of the oak flavor and color from aging for 5 years in premium French oak barrels. 

 “Wine and spirits have a well-documented place in the history of the old west,” said Frey. “Coming from a long line of Nevada farmers, we’re excited to tap into Nevada’s history and bring to market a great product made from Nevada resources."

The brandy is priced at $25/bottle.

About Churchill Vineyards:
Family owned and operated, Churchill Vineyards is a 10 acre vineyard and winery located on the historic Frey Ranch, a 1,200 acre plantation, located in Fallon, Nev. The Frey family comes from a long line of Nevada farmers, with roots going back to 1854, growing corn, wheat, barley, rye, alfalfa and teff. Churchill Vineyards is the only Nevada winery producing Nevada grown, produced and bottled (estate) white wines in addition to being Nevada’s first commercial distillery.  The tasting room is open by appointment at 1045 Dodge Lane in Fallon, NV.  Tel 775-423-4000. For more information, visit
Churchill Vineyards’ wine can be purchased at major Nevada retail outlets Whole Foods, Scolari’s Food and Drug Co. and Total Wine & More. The brandy is projected to hit retail stores around Nov. 11. To stay up-to-date on the release date, visit or follow them on Facebook at

Thanks to Ashley Brune of Reno's Draper Strategies and Communications for keeping us up to date on this vineyard!