February is the start of rodeo season in southeast Texas and wine has become an important part of this annual philanthropic event bringing in over $2 million in sales in recent years. The Houston Fat Stock Show began in 1932 and over time it has evolved into the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) that residents of the region enjoy attending today.
Wine sales are not only a huge fundraiser for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo but the on-premise sales of this award-winning vino are an added boon for the wine loving guests who attend.
Over $600 million in total has been committed to the youth of Texas and education by the HLSR with more than 800 scholarships awarded to Texas students annually. This makes Rodeo Houston one of the largest scholarship providers in the U.S., having presented more than 20,000 scholarships valued at $275 million since 1957.
The wine industry has become a vital and growing component of agriculture in Texas and the U.S. which is why the rodeo now hosts one of the largest international wine competitions in the country. This year’s competition featured a huge number of fantastic wines from around the globe, many of which will be available for purchase at the Champion Wine Garden during the 2024 Rodeo season.
The Rodeo Uncorked Wine Competition attracts top wine producers from all over the world, from familiar spots like Texas and California, to lesser-known old world regions like Lebanon. Of the 2,985 wines submitted into the Uncorked competition, the countries with the most entries this year were the United States, Italy, and Chile, which was this year’s featured country.
The entered wines go through an extensive selection process requiring the support of 440 volunteers. The panel that selects the winners consists of 125 judges, composed of industry experts, winemakers, and connoisseurs who rigorously evaluate wines across a wide range of categories. Each winning wine was carefully assessed based on quality factors like aroma, taste, appearance, and overall balance.
For those wanting a first taste of the top winning wines from the competition, tickets are on sale on the website for the 2024 Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup & Best Bites Competition on February 18 before being sold at the 2024 Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction & Dinner on February 25.
For those planning an evening at the rodeo during the 20-day season from February 27 - March 17, a selection of the Class Champion, Reserve Class Champions, and medal-winning wines will also be available at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Garden.
Lovers of the vino produced here in the Lone Star State can look forward to a scheduled event to taste the top-performing Texas wineries at the Texas Wine Celebration Day held in the Champion Wine Garden on February 29, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
The Champion Wine Garden is a refuge that offers a festive atmosphere to indulge in a glass or bottle before viewing the livestock, going to the carnival, or heading in for the big show. Glass prices start at $6 and go up to $16 and there are also some premium bottles of wine offered for sale as well.
Wine lovers can enjoy their drink while listening to live music from rising Texas stars taking the opportunity to savor a menu with more than 75 award-winning wines with snacks of charcuterie and cheese also available for purchase.
There are tent and table reservations for anyone looking to host an event in this popular spot during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo along with scheduled wine classes for those who want to learn a little more.
Wine lovers that are not attending the rodeo this year, but who are interested in buying winning wines to help support the kids, may opt to purchase the Collector's Cases of Wines which are available on the website.
All class and music schedules, event tickets, and wine case purchases can be made through the website at www.rodeohouston.com.
Look for these 2024 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition Champion winners in local wine shops and on restaurant menus to enjoy all year.
Grand Champion Best of Show - Beau Joie Brut Champagne AOC, NV
Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show - Smith-Madrone Riesling, Spring Mountain District, 2018
Top Texas Wine - Meierstone Vineyards The Airship Red, Texas High Plains, 2021
Top Red Wine - Marchesi di Barolo DOCG, 2018
Top White Wine - Perissos Vineyards and Winery Winemaker’s Reserve Pape Blanc, Texas High Plains, 2022
Top Sparkling Wine - Champagne Telmont Reserve Brut Champagne AOC, NV
Top Dessert Wine - Quady Winery Essensia Orange Muscat, California, 2020
Top Region Wine - TerraNoble CA1 Carmenere Andes, Colchagua Valley DO, 2020
Top Value Wine - Animus Vinho Verde DOC, 2022
Top Wine Company - E & J Gallo Winery
Top Region Wine Company - Winebow Imports
Top All-Around Winery - Nice Winery
Top Texas Winery - Becker Vineyards