Sanders Winery participates in sesquicentennial commemorative

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<p>Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Jack Sanders of Sanders Family Winery presented a commemorative bottle of ruby port for Nevada’s 150th anniversary to Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki at a Rural Roundup tourism conference in Ely last week.</p>

As Nevada celebrates 150 years of statehood, various localities are offering commemorative events or souvenirs for the occasion. Sanders Family Winery was asked by the Nevada Tourism Commission to participate with a special bottling of one of its wines.

This isn’t the first time Jack Sanders has been asked to participate in a statehood celebration. He packaged a set of three bottles 25 years ago and said, “Those boxed sets have become a collector’s item.”

A display behind the winery’s tasting bar exhibits the ruby port dressed in a cobalt blue bottle. Sanders said, “It’s our premier wine. It took us seven years to get it bottled.”

Always the activist, Sanders is on the local tourism board and recently attended an off-shoot of the Governor’s Conference on Tourism called Rural Roundup.

Sanders said the big convention held in one of Nevada’s larger cities every year is not made for rural Nevada issues as far as promoting locations, hospitality and services. “Twenty-four years ago, representatives from smaller locations branched out and formed the Rural Roundup to aid communities such as Pahrump, Mesquite, Ely… Now we have our own voice and can address our concerns. It was the first time anyone had the opportunity to discuss agri-tourism.”

Last year’s roundup was held in Pahrump where delegates from other rural communities held public meetings to understand the concerns of local residents and what the people thought would help boost the economy. Those responses were reviewed and a summary sent to the tourism advisory board as a guideline to move forward.

One topic of discussion among the delegates involved social media and using it to reach specific markets. “It’s amazing to me when we have a group of young people come to the winery to taste the wines. They are taking photos of the wines and giving tasting notes and it’s immediate contact with people in their network or followers from all over the world.”

He said the “millennials as an age group of those born in the early 1980s to early 2000, know more about you before they ever come into your business. They ask me questions that shock me. Businesses need to be ready for them.”

He said that as a group, they know what they want but they are frugal when it comes to some things, such as how much they are willing to pay for a bottle of wine. Sanders said statistics show there are 90 million millennials in society and they think nothing of going into a big casino with a bunch of friends and dropping $1,500 for setups and drinks for the evening.

As for his own marketing progress, Sanders said,”Our email list has grown unbelievably. It’s between 4,000 and 5,000 now in just two years. We’re getting ready to take the list and separate it by state and ZIP codes so we can better get specific product awareness to specific groups. For instance, we have a shipping business with the wines, but there are states we can’t ship to.”

Among the speeches, awards and presentations among rural community delegates at the Ely conference, Sanders presented the commemorative bottle of port to Lt. Gov. Brian Kroliki. Sanders said the port was released last week but “the formal release will be Memorial Day.”