Two top wines sold for a whopping $275,000 at the 2017 Rodeo Uncorked Champion Wine Auction and Dinner Sunday night at NRG Center.
The Clerkley Watkins Group, Inc., Becky and Kelly Joy, Julie and Alan Kent, and Schaefer Ranchwear/Emily and Robert Clay banded together to purchases the Arinzano Gran Vino Blanco, Pago de Arinzano D.O., 2010, which had been named The Grand Champion of Show in the Rodeo Uncorked International Wine Competition held last November. Their winning bid for the Spanish chardonnay was $135,000. It was the first white wine in the 14 years of the competition to be named the top winner.
The Kents are long-time supporters of the Champion Wine Auction. This was their second consecutive purchase of the Grand Champion Best of Show.
The Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show, Nice Winery Notorious Malbec, Mount Veeder, 2013, sold for even more than the Grand Champion. Emily and Brad Bonnecaze, Brad Fish, Elizabeth and Michael Hartfield, and Araly and Chuck Simmons bid $140,000 for the wine, which is produced by Houston-based Nice Winery, using grapes from California.
It was the 14th year that the Simmons had purchased wine at the auction.
The winning bids topped last year's bids of $125,000 each for the Champion and Reserve wines but fell short of the record of $232,000 for the Champion in 2015 and $205,000 for the Reserve in 2013.
There were more than 2,850 entries from 20 different countries, including Australia, Austria, France, Italy, Japan, Peru, South Africa and Spain. The entries included 105 wines from the 2017 featured region of Tuscany, and 351 wines from Texas.
A selection of the champion wines will be available for tasting, by the glass and bottle, throughout the run of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo from March 7 through 26, in the Champion Wine Garden, located in Carruth Plaza. It is open Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 pm; Fridays, 4 pm to midnight; Saturdays, 11 am to midnight; and Sundays, noon to 10 pm. Educational seminars are available, ranging from $45 to $65 per person.