May Magazines 2018 89144 - Page 46

My belief is that the longer you stick with something, the more you get out of it. But sometimes, it’s just hard to stick with it. The one-time educator turned out to be a pretty good student. There were challenges. Vines refused to grow, rabbits feasted on his precious grapes. High winds once almost blew down his metal building. “They were erecting it piece by piece, and one day the sheriff called me and said, ‘Your building went down in the wind.' No way," Gehring said. And then he hurried out there. At the School Lane Vineyard, things just had a way of coming together. In 2004, a golfing buddy told Gehring that some home- owners were complaining about a grove of olive trees he’d plant- ed. Fruit-bearing olive trees are illegal in Clark County and the neighbors were talking lawsuit. “What are you going to do with them?” Gehring asked. “Cut them down,” his friend said. “No you’re not,” Gehring declared. “We’re going to move them to the Amargosa Valley.” In all, 31 trees were dug up and trucked to the desert. Now he has 4,000 olive trees, which in 2016 yielded 6,000 pounds of olives, which were used to make olive oil. Today, Gehring’s grape vines span 10 acres. Loken believes that, with the right partnerships, School Lane Vineyard has the capac- ity to reach 100 growing acres– with a potential of 500 tons of wine grapes, or more than 75,000 gallons of Nevada wine. For now, Gehring is content to see his investment grow, though he knows that one day soon, it’ll be time to step down. Yet, the edu- cator, who with an elementary school in Green Valley named in his honor, isn’t done helping students. Eventually, he wants the profits from his vineyard to be donated to educational causes. So, are there any regrets from Gehring’s grand desert experi- ment? “I have to admit it was a crazy idea,” he says. “But in hindsight, I’d do it all over again.” ◆ Reprinted with permission from Valley Electric Association