“Texas Bays are a magnificent resource,
shallow and brackish and marshy-bordered
and rich with life …. The flat land runs
to the flat bays, and beyond the flat sandy
islands is the blue flat Gulf.”
– John Graves, in The Water Hustlers, 1971
The sandy Texas coastal region is full of
surprises, too. It is large, teaming with life,
complicated, productive, and tremendously
recreational. It is also becoming part of the
growing Texas wine industry.
Yup, that’s right….Texas Wine Country.
At first glance, the Texas Gulf Coast does not
conjure up visions and vistas of the great
grape growing and wine regions of Napa Valley,
Burgundy and Tuscany. Nevertheless, in its
own way, it has much to offer in terms of
aroma, flavor and complexity.
Start right here in Galveston County for example.
In 1975, Gladys Haak bought a few grapevines at a
local discount store and gave them to her
husband, Raymond. What began as a hobby has now
grown into a full-scale winery operation in
Santa Fe, Texas. The Haaks have constructed a
Spanish mission-style tasting room and full
fledged winery on Avenue “T”.
From their Santa Fe winery, the Haaks offer a
range of wines including favorites such as
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec and
Cabernet Sauvignon. These are made from grapes
the Haaks purchase from growers in cooler, drier
But, Raymond has also been a pioneer working with
grapes that actually love the heat and humidity
that the Texas Gulf Coast has to offer. These
grapes are called hybrids because they are the
products of breeding to bring together the
right root and vine qualities for this region,
such as Blanc Dubois and Lenior (Lenior is also
called Black Spanish).
Raymond has experimented with Blanc Dubois using
it to make both a dry New Zealand style wine
remenistant of Sauvignon Blanc and also wonderfully
refreshingly crisp semi-sweet Riesling-style wine.
Either wine is right for sipping on the deck on
a warm evening or serving with your day’s catch.
The Black Spanish is used to make a flavorful
Texas Gulf Coast Port and more recently he has
geared up make Madeira.