It’s hard not to wax hyperbolic when discussing the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR). Everything may be bigger in Texas, but when it comes to rodeos, Space City elevates the stakes on that somewhat trite but true axiom to astronomical levels.
For example: millions of dollars are raised by the Show’s educational fund for agricultural scholarship (and education period), some of the best live acts working in music from all genres vie for their chance to perform in front of up to 70,000 fans each night, and events like Rodeo Uncorked! show off Houston’s seriously sophisticated palate and taste levels in wines and gourmet foods.
There are more than 31,000 volunteers on 108 committees working tirelessly to bring the entire HLSR to life, and the Rodeo Uncorked! events are no exception. Four committees with 1,000 volunteers strive to bring the spirit of excellence of this wine competition and subsequent wine auction into fruition, which has grown in scope and influence throughout its 12-year history to become one of the top five wine events in the world. Some 15,000 wine bottles are submitted, sorted by a painstakingly thorough process into 2,578 entries, 43 of which include Texas wineries.
So after the two-day judging process is concluded and results are tabulated, winning bottles of the 2015 HLSR International Wine Competition are announced. This year’s Grand Champion Best of Show, Rombauer Vineyards Diamond Selection cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2010, is just one of the truly outstanding selections, which also includes a Top Texas winner, Driftwood Estate Winery Longhorn Red, Texas 2012.
Some of the other winners from the nine categories will be featured in the Champion Wine Garden at Carruth Plaza in NRG park, where live music and tempting menus will provide a welcome respite from the raucous Rodeo hustle and bustle.
Wine Garden Chairman J.W. Daubert has noticed an interesting phenomenon grow around his event. “Some folks might not even make it to the Rodeo itself because the Champion Wine Garden has become so popular, and I think that’s a greater reflection of Houston itself, where a high-powered energy executive and nine-to-fiver can mingle and enjoy the same wines, food and great music, shoulder-to-shoulder,” he said. “For me, the Rodeo is a melting pot, and during this timeframe, Houston really shows its friendly, big-town side.”