Texas is the fourth largest wine-producing state in the U.S., with more than 400 wineries in operation. Among these, many participate in the annual Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. In the 2019 Competition, Texas wineries represented 413 entries, earning 12 double gold medals, 41 gold medals, and 62 silver medals. Here’s a look at some of the Texas wineries that have received top ratings in this year’s competition.
The McPherson family has been a part of the Texas wine scene for more than 40 years. The winery was founded to honor winemaker Kim McPherson’s father, Dr. Clinton “Doc” McPherson, co-founder of Llano Estacado, one of the earliest wineries in Texas. This year, the winery took home a champion saddle for Top Texas Wine, Les Copains White, 2017. The winery also won a double gold for its Piquepoul Blanc and silver medals for its 2017 Albarino, 2016 La Herencia Red and its 2017 Tre Colore Red blend.
HAAK VINEYARDS & WINERY
Raymond Haak has been producing wines commercially since 2000 at his winery in Santa Fe. This year, Haak Vineyards & Wineries was named Top Texas Winery. Its accolades included three double gold medals — 2014 Blanc du Bois Madeira; 2010 Jaquez Madeira; and 2018 Semi Dry Blanc du Bois — as well as a gold medal for its 2017 Amorcito Sweet Red and silver medals for its 2018 Sweet Blanc du Bois; 2018 Amorcito Sweet Blush; 2016 Merlot and 2018 Dry Blanc du Bois.
LLANO ESTACADO WINERY
This pioneer in the history of Texas wines was honored at the 2018 International Wine Competition for producing the Top Texas Wine, Viviano Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese, 2015. In this year’s Competition, the winery earned five silver medals for its 2017 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay, 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Moscato, 2016 Harvest Reserve Tempranillo, and 2016 Stampede Red.
BENDING BRANCH WINERY
Bending Branch Winery, founded in 2009 outside of Comfort, was named the Top Texas Winery in the 2018 Competition. Bending Branch is most known for Tannat, one of the more prominent grapes in Uruguay. In this year’s Competition, their Tannat took home a gold medal, and Class Champion and Texas Class Champion honors. . Bending Branch also won a double gold medal for its Sagratino, a gold medal for its Malbec, and three silver medals for its 2013 Tannat RF, 2014 Charbono, and 2014 Old Vine Petite Sirah.
Located in the Texas Hill Country between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, Becker Vineyards was established in 1992. Becker has long been a participant in the Competition, and this year earned 18 medals, including a double gold medal for its Cheveaux Noir, Texas High Plains, 2016. The winery also won two gold medals — one for its Estate Reserve Petite Sirah, Texas Hill Country, 2016, and another for its Prairie Rotie Red, Texas Hill Country 2015 — as well as seven silver medals: its 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Wilmeth Vineyard; 2016 Canada Family Cabernet Sauvignon; the 2017 Provencial Rose; 2017 Sauvignon Blanc; 2016 Tempranillo; 2017 Farmhouse Vineyards Viognier; and 2015 Texas Viognier.
Pedernales Cellars in Driftwood specializes in Spanish and Rhone style wines, including benchmark Tempranillo and Viognier. The winery’s Viognier, Texas, 2014, won Top Texas Wine in the 2016 Competition. Pedernales Cellar repeated that honor in 2017 with its Tempranillo, Texas High Plains, 2014. In the 2019 Competition, the winery earned three gold medals, one for its Reserve Viognier, Texas High Plains, 2017, one for its Reserve Tempranillo, 2016 and another for its Viognier, Texas 2016. The winery also earned two silver medals for its 2016 GSM Melange and its 2016 Tempranillo.
FALL CREEK VINEYARDS
Fall Creek was the first winery in the Texas Hill Country. It has won many awards at the Competition, including Top Texas Winery in 2016. In 2017, the winery won Top White Wine honors with its Chardonnay, Texas Hill Country, 2014 Chardonnay. In the 2019 Competition, Fall Creek took home a double gold for its Tempranillo, Texas Hill Country, 2016; a gold for its Ex Terra Syrah, Texas Hill Country, 2016; and three silver medals, one for its 2016 Ex Terra Mourvèdre, its 2016 GSM, Salt Lick Vineyards, and for its Meritus Red, Texas Hill Country 2015.
This is by no means a complete list of the wineries that have won accolades and supported the Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. Messina Hof Winery has always been a big winner at the Competition, as has the Duchman Family Winery and Kiepersol Vineyards and Winery (Top Texas Winery in 2017), among many others.
For participating wineries, the Competition is a great venue for showcasing their wines. For winning wineries, the Roundup & Best Bites Competition and the Champion Wine Garden at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ offer a wonderful opportunity for patrons to sample great wines made in our home state.