A Mohave Desert Winery -The only one!

Pahrump Valley Winery

Pahrump Valley Winery

Pahrump, Nevada, Driving from Las Vegas about 55 miles west, and about half way to Death Valley is a small town that benefits greatly from their winery.  In Pahrump, there are the Pahrump Valley Winery,  Brothels, Sex Tourism, and not much else.  And most folks drive right on by the beautiful Pahrump Valley Winery in the Northern Mohave Desert as they drive to Death Valley without knowing it’s existence. It’s the only winery in southern Nevada and the only significant one in the Mohave Desert that exists I guess.

 There are few Legal Brothels in the United States and most found only in Nevada; The most famous ones  are in Pahrump. They advertise in Las Vegas and offer free

The famous chicken Ranch Brothel is in Pahrump, NV

The famous chicken Ranch Brothel is in Pahrump, NV

Limo rides to Pahrump.  Riders don’t know they have to pay a cab for the 50 mile ride back.  

Damn hot here, but good wine!  It’s summer and very hot in the Mohave desert right now.  Grapes are ripening 2 or 3 weeks early.

July and Syrah grapes ripening early

July and Syrah grapes ripening early3 weeks early all over the west coast due to the hotter than usual summer.  Not too bad today but it was 130 degrees near here a week ago.  The road would’ve  made a pretty good stove top Coyotes, snakes and giant desert jack rabbits must be hiding from the mid-day heat.  It’s only 104 degrees today.

I wondered how in the world and why someone built a winery here.  Turns out it was owned by a group that had fellow as a manager that made cheap fortified wines and was losing money, and Bill and Gretchen Loken were called in to turn around the money-losing operation by Bill’s brother.  

Bill Loken in his Wine-making room

Bill Loken in his Wine-making room

Bill and Gretchen knew nothing about wine at the time.  Owners didn’t provide promised financing Bill asked for to put in needed basic winemaking equipment and barrels, so thecLokens bought the place and put in their own money. They hired a wine-making consultant, Greetchen went to the famous Davis wine-making program and they were on their way.  Little more than 10 years later they have a successful winery with a growing list of awards and Nevada wines.

A great on-site restaurant, Symphony serves gourmet food. We loved it!

Gourmet food at symphony Restaurant

Gourmet food at symphony Restaurant

 

We tasted their Nevada wines (most of the winery production source grapes from California wine growing regions) and found their award winning Primitivo Wine to be excellent. 

This is a great place to day-trip from Las Vegas for wine lovers!  We saw limos arriving and the tasting room was crowded with visitors.  Bill told us once 5 helicopters arrived with executives from Omaha Mutual Insurance Company when Obama had criticized companies for spending too much money on conventions in Las Vegas.  They must have figured getting out of town was a good thing to do.  

Nicoleta Purcell enjoying the wonderful Loken Old Vine Zin

Nicoleta Purcell enjoying the wonderful Loken Old Vine Zin

The Syrah and Zinfandel grapes we saw in the vineyard had just been netted to prevent birds from eating the berries and in middle summer these berries were pretty ripe.  The site is on an Alluvial Fan below the high Nevada mountains as are many California vineyards. Soils here are composed

Bill and Nico in the busy tasting room

Bill and Nico in the busy tasting room

of limestone and gravels from ancient oceans. So, other than the heat, a good place to grow a number of kinds of varietals. 

We enjoyed talking with Bill Loken.  He’s a great guy and loves what he and Gretchen have built, and we enjoyed hearing about his entrepreneurial start. He’s done well in the winery business for a former Las Vegas real estate professional with no wine-making experience.  

Nico and I enjoyed our road trip to visit Bill and Gretchen’s winery; we think you might too.

http://www.pahrumpwinery.com

One comment

  1. Irina Tenisheva /

    I love the place. 1 hour from Las Vegas, beautiful restaurant with amazing staff. Wine is the best and food in the restaurant is fresh and delicious. I

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