Santa Fe winery takes home a championship buckle from rodeo
In Texas, the best of the best wear belt buckles.
And this year, Haak Vineyards & Winery in Santa Fe is wearing the biggest buckle of them all.
In November, months before the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the winery was named the Top Texas Winery during the rodeo’s International Wine Competition.
Haak Winery beat out 412 other Texas wineries for the title.
It was the first time in the winery’s 19-year history it won the best-in-state award, but the new buckle will join dozens of others Haak has won at the rodeo over the years.
Many of the buckles are displayed in shadowboxes on the wall of the winery’s tasting room.
“It shows that our wines are good,” said Gladys Haak, who owns the winery with her husband, Raymond. “It shows that they’re worthy enough to win these kinds of medals.”
Wine competitions haven’t always been a part of the rodeo. The event was added in 2004. As many as 3,000 wines are entered into the competition every year and the highest scoring wines are served at the rodeo in February.
The Haaks’ newest buckle was awarded to them personally by Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller. They also were promised another totally Texas prize: a custom horse saddle.
Getting people to buy into the idea that Texas wines are just as good as California wines can be a marketing challenge, Haak said.
“You have to convince people that our wines are worthy of giving it a try,” she said.
It’s a good thing then that when you’re the champ, all you have to do is point to your belt.