Drinking on a trip to Las Vegas isn’t exactly at innovate travel idea. But I think we can all agree what typically comes to mind is more vodka-shots-straight-from-the-bottle-at-Wet-Republic than civilized-sipping-at-a-winery. Am I right or am I right? And yet, to my surprise, the state of Nevada is home to four fine wineries.
The first winery to settle in the Silver State was Pahrump Valley Winery, just under an hour outside Las Vegas. The barren desert might not seem like your first choice for setting up an agriculture-based business, but they do have originality on their side.
While I’m far from a wine aficionado, I was thrilled to spend an afternoon wining and dining in Pahrump Valley. Having previously visited wineries in the rural backroads of Cambodia and at the base of a volcano in Hawaii I do have an appreciation for vino off the grid.
We started out with a lovely meal in the onsite Symphony’s restaurant, which turned out to be one of the best of the trip. I personally used the fact that it’s never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach as a carte blanche pass to eat a three course lunch, because, logic.
Then it was on to our tasting. I was thrilled to find plenty of sweet wines with plenty of fruity influences. And yup, that’s about as technical as this wine post is going to get. There’s a reason this isn’t a sommelier blog and it starts with two and ends with buck chuck.
After our tasting, with a final glass in hand, we were taken to see where the magic happens. My eyes widened at the prices our guide quoted for some of the fancy machinery on display. Especially when you consider that Pahrump Valley is a boutique winery, producing just 10,000 cases per year, they manage to keep their prices reasonable despite very high expenses. They also do quite well for themselves on the awards circuit, as shown by their impressive medal display room.
Yet my favorite part of the day was simply wandering the tranquil vineyard. Who knew this kind of lush tranquility existed an hour off the Strip? Though the peace turns to pandemonium once a year for what sounds like a new addition to my bucket list — a Lucy and Ethel themed grape stomp each October.
Free thirty minute tours of the winery are offered three times a day and would make quite the original day trip out of Las Vegas, especially in combination with a tour of Pahrump’s other main attraction — Sheri’s Ranch Brothel. And while both do serve food, I personally found the setting at the winery a bit more appetizing.
Would you do a winery tour out of Las Vegas?
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Many thanks to Travel Nevada for hosting me and showing me a new side of Nevada. As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.