When people talk about the great grape-growing regions of the world, it’s not often that Fallon, Nev., enters the conversation.
Charlie Frey would like to change that, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.
“Our goal is to produce premium wines from Nevada-grown vinifera grapes — the fine European wine grapes that they grow in Napa and other areas,” says Frey. “Our climate is perfect for it.”
That’s not just an idle boast. Frey has science on his side when he talks about the climate and soil needed to grow grapes and make wine in central Nevada.
His efforts at Churchill Vineyards on his 738-acre farm in Fallon are in part an experiment to see if farmers can stretch water resources and increase profits from agriculture by growing grapes instead of alfalfa or grain crops.
Grapes, for instance, use only 10 percent of the water needed to grow alfalfa. And while gross revenues from hay are from $400-800 per acre, experts say grapes can produce up to five times that.
Frey began growing grapes on his family farm in 1999, and has tested 19 varieties of grapes to find the ones that would be the most successful and profitable. Like a lot of growers, Frey and his son also makes wine from the grapes they grow, and so far, the vineyard’s most popular wines have been its Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon and Gewurztraminer.