Las Vegas Strip view from Mandalay Bay 2/2005

Tastings in Vegas

Several years ago (before the famous server meltdown of 2009), I wrote about the tastings that were throughout the greater Las Vegas/Henderson metropolitan area.  At that time there were wine tastings every day, and it was completely possible to feed your wine-tasting jones and purchase a good wine – one that you had actually sampled and enjoyed – every day of the week.

Well, the economy has seen some of our great wine friends – Vino 100, unWINEd, Wine Styles, Bella Vino, for example – close their doors and the same wine tasting availability is no more. For a Wineaux like me, that’s disastrous!

However, it’s not all doom and gloom!

There are still wine tastings throughout the week, although – as far as I can see – no longer on an everyday basis.  Let me share some of the tastings of which I am aware, and please, let me know of more.  I love to support the local businesses, and I love to have as many people as possible become exposed to a greater wine experience through tasting.  The tastings I’m talking about with this post are free to customers.  Please patronize these businesses in order to continue to enjoy their generosity!

First, the newest on the tasting roster is a restaurant near (literally!) and dear to me – Mezzo!  Mezzo Italian Bistro on north Rancho is under new ownership, and the new guys in charge, Sean and Kelly, decided to share some of the offerings on their restaurant wine list with their patrons.  The Wineaux Guy and I enjoyed several of their wines, and we recommend it highly. Their tastings are on Saturdays from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

My first wine tasting experiences were with my old friends at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits in Henderson on Eastern near St. Rose Parkway.  Issa and Nura have generously provided free tastings every Thursday for years, and although it’s located on the other side of the world (for me), I love visiting with them because they almost always have the actual winemaker or winery owner there sharing their wines.  Warning – going there is very bad for the budget! Every Thursday from 6:00 – 8:00 you’ll find a dedicated group of Khoury’s customers there to enjoy the phenomenal wines.

I probably don’t need to add to the accolades that Marché Bacchus has received over the years, but I will.  Jeff and Rhonda provide one of the most extraordinary tastings in the valley; the wines are always high-end, always unique and unlike any you’ll find anywhere else.  They are located on Regatta Drive in the community of Desert Shores, just off of Buffalo. Tastings are on Saturdays from 11:30 – 1:30. Word of warning: get there early!

Valley Cheese and Wine, located on Horizon Ridge Parkway way out in the boonies of Henderson, consistently provides the most incredible cheeses with their selection of yummy wines.  Bob and Kristin’s tastings are on Friday, 4:00 PM to 7:00 pm and Saturday, noon to 7:00.

I did a posting about Total Wine when they first opened in the Boca Park shopping center in 2010.  They have (they say) 8,000 different wines.  It’s a great place to stop if you’re looking for an inexpensive drinker for movie night in front of the flat screen! They taste these wines every Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to 6:00, and Sundays noon to 6:00 at both of their stores, Boca Park and in Henderson.

Lee’s Discount Liquor, the granddaddy of the spirits community here in Vegas, has 16 stores, all with different tasting times.  The three that I’m close to – Boca Park, Craig Road (west), and Lake Mead – all have free tastings on Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons, and occasional Sundays.  Check out their website for more information!

I don’t talk about Sunset & Vines a lot because they’re located in the Montelago Village of Lake Las Vegas, which is very far from my home, and not an easy place for me to travel to on a casual basis.  However, I’ve been there a few times and can highly recommend their food and their Tuesday evening wine tastings, which, like the others mentioned here, are free of charge. They have their tastings from 6:00 to 7:30 pm.

The store we love to hate, Whole Foods, has wine tastings in each of its local stores, and the times vary.  The busiest store is Town Square, with regular events, tastings, food demonstrations, and more.  Like Lee’s, you’ll have to check your closest (or favorite) Whole Foods for tasting dates and times.  The locations here in Vegas are Boca Park (actually, across the street on Charleston), Green Valley (Henderson), West Lake Mead at Tenaya, and Town Square.

There are always wine dinners, tastings, and other events going on in Vegas. Sometimes you just want to taste wine, whether to enjoy a wine you know you can’t afford, or if you’re just looking for something to pop the cork (or {{{shudder}}} *unscrew*) that evening. The one disadvantage of having limited free tastings is that you’ll have to buy more wines to make up for those days when there are no wine tastings to visit!

Coming soon – tastings that may cost you a bit of money…but are worth it!

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