By Selwyn Harris
Sanders Family Winery on East Kellogg Road, is on the verge of capturing a most prestigious title in the Silver State.
The winery was selected as one of two finalists to be named a “Nevada Treasure” by the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCT).
The NCT started the contest in March, as part of their “Discover Your Nevada” campaign, where people get to vote online for their favorite attractions in the state.
The entries are all from six of Nevada’s so-called territories, each having 10 locales, from which voters can choose.
Sanders Winery falls into what is known as Nevada Silver Trails Territory, which encompasses much of Nye, and several other counties to the north.
The attraction which garners the most votes, will receive the Nevada Treasure title for its respective territory.
Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Director Claudia Vecchio said the contest was designed as a way to get people talking about Nevada’s most unique treasures.
“We’ve seen people really get behind their favorites, courting online votes and creating a buzz about these treasures. While we’re very interested to see which treasures eventually win, the real value of the contest has been in the remarkable conversations that have been generated. People are talking about what’s available throughout the state,” Vecchio said.
Jack Sanders, owner of the winery, said he is very pleased his business was selected out of the many other attractions in the area.
“The wineries were both nominated here in town as well as about 30 other things like Front Sight, the Pahrump Nugget, the museums and the race track. Just about everything that was in our territory was nominated including Beatty. As a matter of fact, up in Beatty, they received about five or six nominations,” he said.
Sanders Family Winery is in direct competition with Goldwell Open Air Museum, which is an open-air sculpture park near the town of Beatty.
In the 1980s, Belgian artist Albert Szukalski and other fellow artists created the sculptures, which includes a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
Sanders said he is urging the community to vote for the winery as the Nevada Treasure, representing Nevada Silver Trails Territory.
“Right now we are down to the final two. You only get to vote once a day. There will be six Nevada Treasures that will be named. What’s also interesting is that there’s another winery up in Churchhill County, so two of the possible Nevada Treasures are wineries. People love to visit wineries, there’s no question about that. I want to get the people of Pahrump to rally so we can bring this home to Pahrump,” he said.
Sanders also noted that although he’s pleased just to be nominated for the title, winning the big prize would be the icing on the cake.
“One of us is going to be number one or number two in our territory — doesn’t make any difference to us. We’d love to be number one, but it’s an honor just to be in the top finals,” he said.
Sanders Family Winery opened for business last June. The 4.3-acre property features Italian-style architecture, complete with a Tuscan arch and bell tower.
Grapes were growing on the property long before the building was constructed.
The winery has been the venue for many local functions including weddings, private parties, and entertainment performances. It has the capacity to meet the needs of several hundred guests.
Sanders, who has been in the wine business since 1988, was the original owner of Pahrump Valley Winery before he sold it in 2002.
The other head-to-head finalists within the remaining five territories are Cowboy Country, which puts an annual photography symposium in Winnemucca against the Star Hotel and Restaurant in Elko.
The Lost City Museum in Overton will battle Pyramid Lake in Indian Territory.
Pony Express Territory will see the Churchill Vineyards in Fallon going up against the Northern Nevada Railway in Ely.
In Reno-Tahoe Territory, the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park in Minden is competing in the finals with the Thunderbird Lodge National Historic Site on the east shore of Lake Tahoe.
In Las Vegas Territory, voters can choose between the Colorado River in Laughlin or the Valley of Fire State Park in Overton.
Individuals can vote online at www.discoveryournevada.com
All votes must be cast by 5 p.m. today. Winners will be announced on May 7.