Words by Nan McCreary

Hye Meadow Winery’s Boooom, Texas High Plains, 2017 was named Top Texas Wine at the 2022 Rodeo Uncorked!® International Wine Competition held Nov. 12-14, 2021. This year’s competition featured 2,862 entries from 17 countries, including France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Peru, Argentina and South Africa. Of those entries, 480 entries were from Texas wineries, and 203 entries came from this year’s featured region, Washington State.

Hye Meadow Winery is located in Hye, Texas, along U.S. Route 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg. It was founded in 2012 by Denise and Mike Batek, who were at a crossroads in their lives at the time and looking for a new venture. For the Bateks, building and owning the winery has been a journey of “doing what you love and enjoy.” 

Their winery, situated on a beautiful 62-acre property, is small by design: Except for a small vineyard, a production facility and a tasting room, the land has been left natural, and offers visitors a laid-back atmosphere where they can relax among towering oak trees and enjoy a glass of 100% Texas wine. “Our mantra is ‘serious wine for fun people,’” Batek said. “We try to demystify wine: We don’t want visitors to worry about whether they’re sniffing it right or able to discern the correct taste. What’s important is that they get away for a few hours and unwind.”

Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Hye Meadow’s winning wine, Boooom, is a robust blend of “Italian Stallions,” Negroamaro, Montepulciano, Aglianico and Sangiovese. According to the winery, “These heavy hitters combine with an aggressive oak regiment to deliver a full-bodied blend with dark fruit notes and mouth-tinging tannins, perfect for steaks and grilled meats or a sip on the wild side.” The wine earned a Double Gold medal,  Class Champion and Texas Class Champion awards in this year’s Houston competition. Batek calls Boooom a “bomb” because it is such a big wine. “I wanted to make a wine that was ‘strong like a bull,’ and ‘Boooom’ seemed like a good name for it. Negroamaro is the mainstay of the grape. That’s what gives it the mouthfeel and the taste that everybody enjoys.”

Besides the Italian wines in the winning blend, Hye Meadow produces Barbera, Dolcetto, Trebbiano, Sauvignon Blanc, Barrel-Aged Riesling, Viognier and several styles of rosé wines. Annual production is 4,000 cases. While grapes for many of their wines are sourced from the Texas High Plains, Hye Meadow grows Montepulciano, Negroamaro, Refosco and Tempranillo on five acres of estate vineyards. “The Italian grapes love it here,” Batek said. “It’s hotter and more humid, which is similar to the climate in southern Italy.”

Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Hye Meadow winery has a small amount of distribution in Texas.  Their “Junkyard Red” (a blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Carignan) is available at H-E-B stores throughout the state. Boooom wine is available online, and at the tasting room in Hye, which is open every day except Tuesdays. For more information on Hye Meadow Winery, visit www.hyemeadow.com.For Batek, winning the Top Texas Red Wine is a “good validation for hard work.” Plus, as former Houstonians, the Rodeo has always been a part of their lives. “We do the Houston Competition because we like their program.  It absolutely floors me that 35,000 volunteers help put on this show.  We really enjoy supporting that.”

Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, now in its 19th  year, is one of the largest and most prestigious wine competitions in the country, For more information on this year’s winners click here or join the Rodeo Uncorked! Facebook group.