Since 1969, when Gladys Haak gave her husband Raymond two concord grapevines to celebrate their 10th anniversary, the couple's namesake vineyard has flourished into 1,800 vines sprawling across three acres. Galveston County's first and only winery transforms grapes into award-winning potions that have earned the attention of the Houston Press and the Dallas Observer. Whether sipped onsite or at various shops and restaurants, the wines grace glasses with a diverse mélange of local blends. Custom labels can be commissioned to personalize each bottle with heartfelt dedications or nutritional information written in iambic pentameter.
The vineyard welcomes thirsty visitors with tours of their verdant vines, 25,000-square-foot workshop, and deli stocked with Boar's Head meats and pungent cheese. Frequent guests reap the exclusive benefits of the winery’s club memberships, which include invitations to special events, first tastings, discounts, and complementary bottles. An event-ready banquet space also sets the scene for memorable weddings and events, with the winery’s chef, Kim Johnson, overseeing catering duties, cake cuttings, and the busboys’ a capella performance of “Take My Breath Away."
The boutique winery specializes in personalized pours. Rather than growing its own grapes, D'Vine starts with high-quality juices to create its renowned reds and crisp whites. Wine is special in that it's a beverage equal parts soothing and social. Host a sophisticated birthday party, toast to the end of a stressful week, or gather your closest for an afternoon of grapey goodness.
In true farm-to-table fashion, Chef Coco Hogue of Tabella at Clear Creek Winery sources the majority of her ingredients from onsite gardens, local farmers, ranchers, and other homegrown producers. Each day before dinner service, she strolls through the restaurant’s backyard picking items for the day’s menu such as herbs, baby vegetables, and forks from the silverware tree. As a photographer and painter, Chef Hogue believes in beautiful presentation, which she achieves by delicately plating entrees such as coffee-rubbed pork loin and grilled quail with sides such as potato gratin and brussels-sprout hash. During three- to twelve-course dinners, fresh seafood found within 5 miles of the restaurant is one of four protein choices, and it is prepared to match the evening’s wine selection.
Though King's Biergarten describes itself as the place "where it's Oktoberfest all year round," once a year the brew haven really goes all out recreating the traditional German beer and food festival. The restaurant transforms its parking lot into a colorful 400-person bier tent decked out with bells, ribbons, and servers dressed in lederhosen who shoulder drinks throughout the rows of beer hall-style benches and tables. Aside from sipping golden suds, crowds can also help themselves to an all-you-can-eat spread of sausage, beer pretzels, and Bavarian smoked pork loin. Bands will play live sets throughout the fest as attendees try their hand at climbing Jacobs ladders or nailing the target at the dunking booth. VIP ticket-holders will be able to camp out inside the restaurant, where they can take advantage of three-hour table reservations.
The three-day event will kick off on Friday, September 27, when local politicians including Pearland Mayor Tom Reed and Senator Larry Taylor will lead the ceremonial keg tapping. From there on out, the German brews will flow for the remainder of the weekend, with attendees trading in beer tickets for half-liters of Hofbrau Dunkel, Stiegl Lager, Franziskaner Hefeweizen, and Spaten Oktoberfest.
Morning, noon, or night, people find something special to eat or drink at Cork Grinders. As day breaks, cups of Katz coffee and custom-made breakfast sandwiches fill the room with their aromas to wake up anyone who walked in still sleeping. By night, the restaurant's team switches out their coffee drinks for wine and locally brewed beer and the room takes on a lounge-like vibe. Much the of the dining action surrounds the panini press, which grills tasty sandwiches such as the Nola with house-made crawfish and the Texan with bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. But the room itself is a draw all on its own, too. With a drink in hand, diners ensconce themselves in cozy seating framed by distressed walls and high ceilings, often listening to musical acts play on the small stage.