Wine enthusiasts and charitable buyers gathered for the annual Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Sunday, Feb. 25. Winning wines from the Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, held Nov. 11-12, 2017, were auctioned Sunday night.


The Grand Champion Best of Show, J. Lohr Vineyards Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, 2014, sold for $145,000 to buyers Ryan Nix, Kristina and Paul Somerville; Jennifer and Joe Van Matre; and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams.


“We have seen the product of where this money goes, and the lives that it changes,” Williams said. “We are native Houstonians, and we always appreciate when we get the opportunity to give back to the city!”


The Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show, Ram’s Gate Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, 2013 sold for $130,000 to buyers Lisa Blackwood and David Schmidt; Becky and Kelly Joy; Liz and Bill Murski; and Debbie and Jeff Young.


“We’ve been coming to this event every year for the past six years and we love it,” Blackwood said. “It makes us very happy that we get to invest in education [by purchasing at the Champion Wine Auction].”


The 2018 International Wine Competition judging included a record 3,188 entries from 18 different countries, including Argentina, Austria, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal and South Africa. The 2018 featured region, Northern Spain — specifically the wine growing regions of Rioja, Navarra, Priorat, Ribera de Duero, Rueda, Rias Baixas, Valdeorras and Cava — received 212 entries. Texas wineries represented 420 entries.


A selection of the champion wines will be available for tasting, by the glass and bottle, throughout the run of the Rodeo, Feb. 27 through March 18, in the Champion Wine Garden, located in Carruth Plaza. Times are Mondays through Thursdays, 4 to 11 p.m.; Fridays, 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sundays, noon to 10 p.m. Enjoy live music daily beginning at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on Saturdays, and noon on Sundays. Educational seminars are available in the Champion Wine Garden, ranging from $40 to $70 per person. To learn more and to view the 2018 entertainment schedule, visit