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Pahrump winery remains without a license to serve

The Pahrump Valley Winery will stay without a license for the next several weeks after action by the Nye County Liquor Board on Tuesday—extending the rift between the board and the winery that was put on display in recent weeks.

The winery’s legal representation requested additional time ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, via a letter to the board, to get paperwork together that the county has been seeking for over a year. The liquor board voted 6-0 to approve the extension of time to Aug. 18.

But that still leaves the winery’s license in a suspended status.

Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo questioned why the board should give more time to the winery during the meeting.

Nye County Commissioner Debra Strickland responded that they weren’t giving the group any more time.

“They don’t have a license,” she said. “They can’t serve liquor. They’re in suspension.”

Blundo made a final comment in the exchange: “I want this board to be sympathetic to the public, because I see faces out there that show up to these meetings, and we so casually, because somebody couldn’t make it, you know. It’s not like court where they just keep moving their legal calendars around at their pleasure. We have people that show up meeting after meeting. Let’s also consider the public and their time.”

Strickland said she sympathized with that after Blundo’s comments.

Winery license suspension

Pahrump Valley Winery’s license was suspended earlier this month following action during a July 7 meeting of the county’s liquor board.

During the meeting with the liquor board, Kathy Trout, listed as an officer in Nevada Wine Cellars Inc., which does business as the Pahrump Valley Winery, was told that the winery had until 5 p.m. that day to turn in paperwork and payment, or its license would be suspended. The board voted in favor of that action.

Later on July 7, a meeting of three members of the liquor board took place, including Debra Strickland. It was decided at that meeting that the time would be extended for the winery’s paperwork to 5 pm. on July 13, which wasn’t met by the owner/applicant of the license, John Hobbs.

Action taken during that three-person meeting was ratified during the July 21 meeting.

A show-cause hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, but the winery’s attorney sent the letter to the board late Monday stating that they weren’t available. At the show-cause hearing, the winery’s license was in jeopardy of being revoked.

The Pahrump winery has been operating on a conditional license for roughly over a year.

During the July 7 meeting of the liquor board, Trout exclaimed that the winery was sold via a stock transfer. She used this stock transfer to defend the winery’s position on its license—taking the position that the winery had a license.

According to Blundo, liquor licenses go with the individual applicants and not the business.

Winery history

The prior owners, Bill and Gretchen Loken, announced the sale of the winery in early 2019 on Facebook.

The Lokens bought the winery in 2003 from then-owner Jack Sanders, who owns and operates the Sanders Family Winery at 3780 E. Kellogg Road. Sanders opened his winery on Kellogg Road shortly after the sale of his holding on Winery Road.

The Lokens are from Arizona, where Bill was in the real estate industry and Gretchen worked as a schoolteacher.

In a June 2017 report in the Pahrump Valley Times, Bill Loken was noted saying that the property was in rough shape when the couple bought it in the early 2000s.

“The couple had to do a complete overhaul, gutting the entire building,” the report stated. “The tasting room was added onto, along with adding new wine-making equipment.”

The property had gone through multiple upgrades over the years, according to the report in the Times.

Contact Interim Editor Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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