Haak Winery grows 1,800 Blanc du Bois grapevines in the three-acre vineyard. (Ashley Withers / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 5:40 PM
Tucked away in Santa Fe, Texas sits Haak Vineyard and Winery, a quiet escape about three hours from Lake Charles.
Mosaic artwork from Spain, Portugal and Italy line the walls of the large Spanish-style winery, each piece a memento of the owner’s visits to wineries around the world.
Behind the winery, a simple wedding chapel stands among the lush grape fields and a small rose bush decorates the end of each row of grapevines.
The romantic atmosphere of the winery is fitting of the story behind it.
On the 10th wedding anniversary of high school sweethearts Raymond and Gladys Haak, Gladys gave Raymond two Concord grapevines.
Raymond planted the vines, but they died within weeks. Not one to be deterred, Raymond took it as a challenge. He worked for the next few years to find a grape variety that would grow in the Santa Fe climate.
He discovered a hybrid grape variety called Blanc du Bois in Florida and traveled to the state to buy 300 vines. They told him it would not grow, but again Raymond’s determination won out.
The Blanc du Bois grape has since thrived in Santa Fe and now fills the vineyard’s three acres with 1,800 vines.
Haak Winery opened commercially in 2000.
I visited the winery last weekend with three friends from high school. We are always looking for a fun getaway close by and decided to sign up for VIP tour and tasting at Haak.
The tour takes you through the vineyard, the aging process and the bottling area. Our tour guide also showed us a room that functions as a sauna for the wine to create Haak’s popular Madeira wine.
I had never toured a winery before and found the process to be very interesting and informative. There is so much that goes into each glass.
The tour ends in the wine cellar, which is used for stoning and aging wines in oak barrels. This is also where the wine tastings are held.
If you sign up for the VIP tour, you get to sample seven wines of your choice. The regular tour includes the tasting of four wines selected by your tour guide.
A white wine lover myself, I chose four white wines, one blush wine and two red wines.
My favorite wines were the 2010 semi-sweet Blanc du Bois, the 2011 Reserve Blanc du Bois, and the Sauvignon Blanc. I also enjoyed the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the Pink Pelican, a blush wine from the winery’s summer collection.
If you are looking to make a weekend out of the trip, stay in Galveston or downtown Houston. The beach is about 30 minutes away and Houston is about 50 minutes.
Haak Vineyard and Winery was an incredible escape and a wonderful way to enjoy the company of good friends.