RODEO HOUSTON IS big — really big — with miles of something for everyone. Looking for a perch to take a load off during your jaunt? Catch live music performances, educational seminars, and cleanse your palate from all that fried rodeo food at the Champion Wine Garden.
Rodeo Houston’s signature outdoor area for lounging and drinking winning wines from the 2023 HLSR International Wine Competition runs through March 19, and lucky for us, the weather is cooperating. Located on the corner of Rodeo Plaza and Boot Row, on the northwest side of the Astrodome, the wine garden pours 75-plus selections from around the globe.
Expect five wine bars throughout the garden with plenty of tables and chairs. Anyone with grounds access may enter for free and order by the glass or the bottle. Texas is well represented with wines from top producers like McPherson, Messina Hof and Lost Draw. Other selections include Gloria Ferrer Sonoma brut, Duckhorn sauvignon blanc (Northern Calif.), DAOU rosé, Paso Robles, and Tribute chardonnay (Monterey, Calif.). Reds include Siduri pinot noir (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Catena Zapata malbec (Lujan de Cuyo), Chapel Hill The Parson cabernet sauvignon (McLaren Vale), and Becker cabernet sauvignon (Fredericksburg, Texas), winner of Top All Around Winery.
Along with the sipping fun, catch live music most days and nights on two stages. On the Lone Star stage, look for acts including Pauline Reese, Keith Hickle, Hagen Dane, Pecos Jane, The Randy Brown Show and The Brandon Smith band. Tables are available to reserve, or opt for a roomy tent if you have a group.
Wines start at $6 a glass, ranging from pinot grigio from Italy to Australian shiraz. Bottles start at $24, but there is also a reserve list including Jordan Russian River Valley chardonnay and 50 Cent’s own Champagne, Chemin du Roi, the Grand Champion Best of Show winner ($146). But bring your credit card, the Wine Bar is cashless.