There are three wineries in Nevada with one located in Pahrump, Nev. 45 miles west of Las Vegas. Pahrump Valley Winery has been around over 20 years but it wasn’t until Bill and Gretchen Loken took over its management and then became owners that the winery now produces award-winning wines from grapes grown from its own vineyard as well as distributing other great wines under its own label.
In the Spanish-style mission building is a gift show, tasting room and Symphony Restaurant. The restaurant surrounded by open windows looking over the grounds and offers outdoor dining when the weather permits. It is a comfortable, upscale atmosphere offering lunch and dinner including steaks, a steak and lobster combo which includes a 6-ounce prime filet and broiled 7- to 8-ounce cold water Australian lobster tail with drawn butter; Symphony chicken limone, a grilled chicken, sautéed artichoke, sundried tomato tossed in fettuccini and lemon zest Symphony wine cream sauce and open faced mushroom ravioli, mushrooms sautéed in garlic and fresh cilantro, topped with blue cheese crumbles, diced roma tomato and beurre blanc.
Then there is the annual grape stomping weekend event held at Pahrump Valley Winery. This year, under the bluest skies and most perfect weather, the grape stomping was held Oct. 8-9. On the grounds, booths and food were available and on stage, in between the grape stomping competitions, which I must add people take VERY seriously.
Of course, my only experience with grape stomping is the television episode of “I Love Lucy” when Lucy stomps some grapes. It almost didn’t happen. My guest was very ill and couldn’t attend, so I thought I would go alone. BIG MISTAKE. Apparently, you need one person to stomp and one person to push the juice down the hole of the barrel to the juice pan.
Competitions are held between 1 and 4 p.m. with six teams competing on stage. It goes for two minutes and people can switch places at the one minute mark. I met a nice man, Chris, who was very muscular and I thought I can’t go wrong with him stomping and me pushing. I was wrong.
Apparently, my job was to make certain the draining hole was clear of all grapes, not just shove juice down the hole. I have to admit I failed miserably since the juice is measured and there were snickers from the audience. I probably did the worst over the entire weekend (yes winners are selected, first by competition and then overall).
So I will stick to what I know best, dining and enjoying wine and Pahrump Valley Winery is a great place to explore and enjoy. I am still keeping my grape stomping certificate and maybe I can be convinced to try it again next year. And NO the juice from the grape stomping is not sold as wine!!!
To discover Pahrump Valley Winery, visit www.pahrumpvalleywinery.com
and click here for directions