Wineries and Nevada are not synonymous. And no matter how long people have lived in Reno, I can’t tell you how many seem surprised to hear that the Biggest Little City has a few operating wineries all its own.
The reason there are not more wineries here is complicated and has deep roots in legal regulations in the state. But we’re not going to dive into that. Instead, we’re going to focus on the wineries that do exist in Nevada, including a duo of local wine producers that share a tasting room on Fourth Street.
Wineries on 4th houses both Nevada Sunset Winery and Great Basin Winery. There was once a third winery in the space called Basin + Range but that has since moved out (and their Facebook page notes they’re temporarily closed).
The two remaining wineries use some Nevada grapes but mostly California grapes from AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) such as Amador and Lodi to turn out full lineups of whites, reds and roses. Every year there are new vintages and versions released and new varietals the team has created, many taking home prized ribbons from international, and notable, wine competitions.
The bar is homey. It’s typically the owners pouring the wine and while flights are available, they are also fully customizable to match your preferences. Don’t fancy whites? The team will trade out other wines to create a red-only flight. There are frequently regulars inside, gathered at small tables watching the game or hunkered around the bar trying out favorites.
One of the best takeaways I’ve garnered is you can have whatever experience you want inside. If you want to order a bottle and have a private conversation with friends, you can move to the side of the tasting room where a large table is housed in a semi-private space. Or, you can be part of the action, sipping wines and asking questions seated at the wraparound bar.
Due to Nevada winery laws, the winery production is all done on site, as well, which is kind of cool, especially if you head back to the barrel room to take a peek around.
Wine club is one way to get your money’s worth. Both wineries boast their own, offering fun extras like pick-up parties and bottle discounts. There are events outside of the wine club as well, such as Girl Scout cookie pairing parties and the option to host on-site private events, too.
The wines themselves are delicious and varied. You can get everything from a summer porch wine to a deep, dark and bold varietal you’ve never heard of before.
For those who have the palates to take it, the Alicante Bouchet is a must-try. Typically a blending grape, this Alicante from Nevada Sunset is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. Their Reno Sparkles, a sparkling wine, is also a must-try, and the Mediterranean red wine blend is a personal new obsession.
From Great Basin, the pinot noir and sangiovese are both favorites, made better when offered slightly chilled. But the line-up also includes some bolder reds and a few whites, offering a little something for everyone, which is kind of the theme here.
Having two wineries housed in one locale is a big plus, especially since you can mix and match tastings with friends, but the Fourth Street building is a great spot to spend an afternoon for another reason. The wineries sit next door to, and actually share a building with, Lead Dog Brewing, so the boys can grab a beer while the women sip wine (or vice-versa).
The businesses also tend to attract food trucks to the parking lot, which means you can grab a plate and eat inside—no reason to leave the premises anymore!