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What’s behind the vines at the Pahrump Valley Winery?

More than a year has passed since the Pahrump Valley Winery’s former owners announced the sale of the iconic destination.

But that post soon disappeared from Facebook, and a set of new people came in and took over the winery. Since then, not much has been reported by area media on what did come next—a far different set of circumstances than when Bill and Gretchen Loken owned the local winery, which includes an upscale steakhouse. The couple openly invited the public to its establishment, including the media.

Searching through countless public records, the Pahrump Valley Times has learned some of the winery’s connections; though not why, at the time of this writing, what Nye is requesting to approve the new owner’s liquor license.

According to the county, the winery’s liquor license was issued on a conditional basis, which required the owner/applicant to provide necessary paperwork and needed fees. In recent meetings with the liquor board, it was stated that the application is incomplete.

On the other side, Kathy Trout contended that the winery’s license is intact during the July 7 meeting. She used the stock transfer as the reasoning that the liquor license transferred over.

But Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo stopped Trout during that meeting and pointed out that liquor licenses go with the individual applicants and not to a business.

As it stands, the winery’s license has been suspended, and a meeting isn’t scheduled with the liquor board until Aug. 18. The winery’s license remains suspended during that period.

What’s known about the Pahrump winery?

What can be stated is that the winery was purchased through a stock transfer. That was stated during a July 7 meeting with the county’s liquor board by Trout, who is listed as an officer in Nevada Wine Cellars Inc., which does business as the Pahrump Valley Winery.

Also on that application for the winery’s new liquor license is JEH Investments Inc., which is listed as the sole owner of the Pahrump Valley Winery on a June 18, 2019 agenda from Nye County. The owner/applicant is listed as John Hobbs.

Hobbs is listed as the president and director of JEH and Nevada Wine Cellars on documents filed with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.

JEH is also listed as a general partner of the Pacific West Economic &Development Center LLLP, listed as an EB-5 regional center in Nevada and California by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. EB-5 is essentially a visa program for foreign investors.

The Pahrump Valley Times reached out to the phone number listed on Pacific West’s website, pacwestedc.com, on Friday, July 24 to inquire about the Pahrump winery listed on its projects page. In less than an hour, that listing disappeared from Pacific West’s website, though the Times managed to get a screenshot of the listing before it was taken down.

The woman who answered the phone at Pacific West identified herself as Kathy.

Trout is also listed as the treasurer and secretary of JEH on documents with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. A Kathleen Trout is listed as a director/secretary with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office, where JEH is based. Hobbs is listed as the president/director with secretary of state’s office in Wyoming for JEH Investments Inc. JEH Investments does business as JEH NV Investments Inc. in Nevada.

This is a developing story. Check the Times’ print edition and pvtimes.com for updates.

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