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Best Places to Wine and not Necessarily Dine

People might not normally associate wine with a desert valley like Las Vegas, but the area is actually home to a rich wine scene, and you don’t even have to drive to California to experience it. Wine Spectator magazine has awarded more than 30 Las Vegas restaurants and bars for their wine selections, and special festivals and wine tastings happen all the time. However, where can you go in the city to experience some great wine all-year round? There are actually a few fun spots worth checking out, whether you’re a wine connoisseur, an avid drinker, or just looking for something fun and interesting to do away from the casinos.

The first place that is a must-stop for any wine lover is the famous Wine Cellar and Tasting Room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Home to one of the most impressive public wine collections in the US, the Cellar features more than 50,000 bottles at a total value of more than $10 million. In the cellar’s rustic, warm atmosphere, visitors will find the biggest and most varied wine selection in the state, from $3 table wines to $200,000 collector’s wines. Virtually a wine museum, the cellar even contains rare pieces like a bottle of 1800 Madeira from the cellar of Thomas Jefferson and the 1855 to 1990 collection of Chateau d’Yquem, valued at $2 million.

The Cellar also features an excellent wine bar with nearly 300 bottles available for tasting, as well as a food and wine-pairing menu, complete with international cheeses and freshly baked breads. There are also flights of tasting (offering three different wines) available for various prices, including a $99 dollar tasting with wines that would cost up to $500 per bottle if served in a restaurant. The flights are a great way to experience a variety of high-quality wines and are an absolute thrill for the senses.

Many places in Las Vegas also offer weekly wine tastings. One notable place is Vino100, a small wine store that offers complimentary tastings every day, as well as “Sippin’ Saturdays” every week. Another great place for those who are new to vino and want to learn a little more about it is WineStyles, a locally owned and operated wine store on Grand Canyon Drive. WineStyles offers wine education classes every Tuesday at 6:30 pm. And for wine tasting in a more sophisticated atmosphere, Viaggo Italian Cuisine and Wine Shop offers theme-driven tastings every Wednesday along with a sample of appetizers. Guests can also create their own personalized wine tastings with flights of wines from their 1,200 item wine list.

And for those wanting to immerse themselves in a day of wine and fun, the Mojave Desert has its very own winery roughly an hour away from the Strip. The Pahrump Valley Winery is a great place to learn about how wine is made, taste some award-winning wines, stroll through the winery’s rose garden and relax in the gazebo, enjoy some live jazz on the outdoor stage, or dine in the upscale gourmet restaurant, Symphony’s. Free tours of the winery are offered most days in the late morning and afternoon, and the winery has a unique gift shop with fun wine-related merchandise.

Though many might not believe it, Las Vegas is blossoming into an international wine destination, with a growing number of master sommeliers (wine experts) flocking to the city, as well as an ever-increasing amount of wine programs in its gourmet restaurants. No matter what your level of wine expertise is, Las Vegas has a place for you – so get out, explore, and enjoy some wine!


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