Local woman documents the Nevada vine story
Written by Kymberly Drake
In recent years, Nevada’s winemaking industry has gone from being the experimental hobby of a few adventuresome hobbyists to a thriving industry whose practitioners — from passionate grape growers to winemakers producing and selling award-winning vintages in tasting rooms — increase in number almost daily.
In fact, the captivating history behind this industry in Nevada, as well as stories about the events and dynamic people working in the state’s burgeoning winemaking industry are told in an online winemaking trade publication called Grape Basin News, The Journal of Nevada Wine Producers.
The journal’s publisher, Samantha Stone, started the publication after the Nevada State Legislature lifted a ban on wineries in Washoe and Clark counties in 2015. That year, the Northern Nevada wine community lobbied hard to remove a ban on commercial tasting rooms in both counties.
As a legislative reporter who hailed from Napa Valley, Stone took a deep personal interest in Nevada’s wine industry.
“I was covering the legislative hearings in 2015 and thought, ‘I’m the only reporter in the room. Where is the interest in this topic? There are no newspaper or TV reporters here to tell the story about what is happening in the local wine community,’” Stone recalls. “That’s when I decided to start an online trade publication to journal the activities of these Nevada wine pioneers.”
Uncorking the industry
Stone says as soon as the ban was lifted, hobbyists and professional winemakers initiated plans to open wineries.
“I watched people gear up for a year after the law passed,” she says. “I kept track of their progress and documented what they were doing. That is when I decided to launch the publication.”
According to Stone, winery owners struggled to find properties and get licensing at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels.
“I have certainly learned a lot and have found it interesting how there is a hybrid of business and the law in this local industry, and how this segment deals with the law,” Stone says. “A great deal of the content of Grape Basin News is focused on the struggles the businesses have had getting up and running and pioneering a burgeoning industry. It’s not easy. It’s a tough road. There are trials and tribulations related to learning how to deal with regulations. The journal is for and about the wine community in Nevada and helping them to chart their path.”
You can read Grape Basin News, a free publication, at Grapebasinnews.com.
Kymberly Drake is a Reno-based freelance writer with endless curiosity about food and drink and the sources that help bring it to our tables.