Haak Vineyards & Winery is located in Santa Fe, Texas and is owned by Raymond and Gladys Haak. Raymond Haak first started experimenting with the Blanc du Bois grape in the early 1970′s and was one of the first wineries in the country to cultivate Blanc du Bois. The first commercial wines for Haak Vineyards & Winery was in 2000 and today they make seven different Texas wines from Blanc du Bois.
If you are planning on doing a tasting, you first take a tour and then do your tasting. The last time I visited Haak Vineyards & Winery, Yvette was my tour and tasting guide. There is a fee for tasting and you can choose between two plans. The lower price allows you to taste four wines chosen by Haak Vineyards and Winery and the higher price called the VIP tour allows you to select your own seven wines to taste in addition to getting a logo wine glass. I chose the VIP tour since I wanted to taste particular wines, and the wine glass certainly didn’t hurt.
The tour starts out of the tasting room and goes to the back where Haak Vineyards & Winery maintains three acres of Blanc du Bois grapevines. The winery overlooks the vineyard in addition to two covered pavilion areas which allows events to be held rain or shine. We first stood under a gazebo which makes a nice setting for a wedding.
Music events are held at the winery usually on Saturday and/or Sunday nights. The first time we visited Haak Vineyards & Winery was for a birthday party while listening to one of the live bands. A full time kitchen staff is available for all the catering needs you may need.
One little tidbit of information is 2010 was the first time Haak Vineyards & Winery made estate wine. Other grapes come from the Hill Country and Yvette thought the Cabernet was made with out of state grapes.
We then went to the cellar of the winery. The winery consists of more than 25,000 square feet and the 1,800 square foot cellar is used for storing and aging wines in oak barrels. The oak barrels are all American oak with medium toast. The cellar also provides room for special events. Also present is the Haak “Vino Viejo” or what they call their wine library. This stores bottles which will need longer aging.
After the cellar we were brought through the production area. We saw the crush pad and the outside of their estufa which is used to make their Madeira Texas wine. We learned the estufa is similar to a sauna and barrels of wine use the estufagem process, where the barrels of wine have been “madeirized” in the special, heated cellar. The temperatures of the wine in the estufagem average between 102°F to 106°F. Haak Vineyards & Winery’s estufa was completed in early 2006 and there are only three wineries in the United States today which still use the style of estufagem. Haak Vineyards & Winery is the only winery that uses the estufagem style for Blanc du Bois. Yvette said that Madeira can be kept opened for two years without affecting its taste.
We learned that Haak Vineyards & Winery is still using natural corks although they are considering using synthetic corks. They use carbon dioxide gas when filling their bottles.
We then got to do a tasting which you do while standing at the tasting bar. Wine crackers are provided during the tasting to cleanse your palate. The tastings are poured with measured pourers. As I said earlier, I had chosen the VIP tour so I could choose my wines. During the tasting Yvette mentioned Raymond Haak had just been in the tasting room and I said I was hoping to have met him. She tried to get him on the intercom but did not have any luck. That’s okay as we met him later at the Houston Wine Fest.
There is a nice gift shop present with wine accessories, clothing, plus selected deli foods which make for a nice lunch or snack with their wines. A wine club is available providing discounts, quarterly shipments of wine, member-only events, plus other benefits.
I left after having a nice afternoon at Haak Vineyards & Winery. While entering my notes later, I realized I didn’t receive the logo wine glass which came part of my VIP tour. Oh well, perhaps next time.