Wine lovers usually have one thing in common; they are wine club members. As Texas wine gets better and Texas wineries become more abundant, a lot of wine lovers in Texas are joining Texas based wine clubs. One thing that most of us love and look forward to is wine club pickup parties. Those of us that reside in Houston are no exception. While there are a few great wineries in the Houston area that are wine club worthy, most of us are in clubs in far away places such as the Hill Country, East Texas, North Texas, and even the Panhandle area. We love to visit our favorite wineries to pick up our wine but that can get impractical. Especially if our favorites are spread out or have their pickup parties on different weekends within the quarter. Shipping is always an option but we miss out on the interaction with winemakers, owners, and winery staff.
This is a problem that us Houstonian wine lovers just deal with, but Hye Meadow Winery from Hye, Texas just provided us with another great option – the “Houston Pickup Party!” When we got the announcement that there would be a Houston pickup party we were quick to register and waited with anticipation for the event to take place.
Hye Meadow Winery chose Pete’s Fine Meats on Richmond Avenue in the Galleria area as the venue. Pete’s is a longtime family-owned traditional butcher shop and meat market that provides customers with an array of meats, products, and services including a menu of sandwiches and BBQ plates. Winery owners Mike and Denise Batek arrived earlier in the day and were able to serve samples of their wine to customers throughout the day up to the start time of the pickup party at 6:00 pm.
We arrived promptly at the start time and really didn’t expect to stay the whole allotted two hours not knowing what to expect. The folks at Pete’s encouraged us to have some sliced beef sliders and a plate of fries. Mike poured my wife, me, and Texas Wine Lover’s Jeff Cope some delicious Aglianico to have with our meal and hung around the table for some conversation. We were able to ask Mike questions about Hye Meadow and he was more than willing to talk about the winery, the harvest, the current wine making status, and how he got into the business. Things we all like to know when we get some quality time with winery owners.
After we finished our food, we walked back to the table where Denise and sometimes Mike were serving samples of their wines for not just club members, but anyone of age who stopped by and wanted a taste. We were able to taste just as if we were at a pickup party at the winery. Having the owner/winemaker there, we were able to learn about each wine as we tasted through the flight. At some point near the end of the party, we picked up our three club selected bottles and also bought three additional bottles that we enjoyed while tasting.
Here are my thoughts comparing this local Houston pickup party to actually traveling to the distant wineries.
- Close to home (obviously)
- Same opportunity to taste the winery’s wines
- Same opportunity to purchase additional wine at club discount (without shipping costs)
- Quality time with the owner/winemaker
- Do not get to experience the winery atmosphere
- Smaller subset of club members to interact with
- Less interaction with winery staff
- No opportunity to pick up other club wines close to the winery.
Overall we enjoyed the pickup party and will take advantage of this again if it’s offered. I’m not sure if it was cost effective for the winery, but as a member of several wine clubs in Texas, I’d welcome others to try this if it fits their budget of time and expense. It also wouldn’t have the same impact if the winery owner or winemaker didn’t attend. I wouldn’t want to always pick up club wines this way, as we always enjoy visiting Texas wineries when we get a chance, but it is a great option.