This award recognizes lifetime achievement in the Texas wine and grape industry.
The 2023 John E. Crosby, Jr. Award recipients are Raymond and Gladys Haak. Everyone in this industry knows what an undertaking it is to start a winery from scratch, let alone operate a winery, successfully, for 20 years. This is exactly what Raymond and Gladys Haak did up until they sold their winery in 2020, and they didn’t do it on U.S. 290. They did it in Santa Fe, Texas. Haak Winery was born from a gift of love, a single grapevine as an anniversary gift from Gladys, which led to Raymond’s path into winemaking. Fueled by passion and love, the two vowed a firm footed journey together to build a winery in the Gulf Coast of Texas. Raymond and Gladys were determined to push the Texas wine industry to new heights. They took every opportunity to educate and champion the Texas wine industry to every patron that entered the tasting room and every wine festival attendee. Raymond served on countless panels, sharing his knowledge and experiences with growing grapes and making wine on the Gulf Coast across the United States. Gladys served as a wealth of knowledge on successfully navigating the many trials and tribulations of winery operations. It isn’t easy having a winery and vineyard on the Gulf Coast, but they weathered every storm, literally. Opening the doors to their commercial winery in 2001, they developed lasting partnerships with Texas’ pioneering family vineyards and produced award-winning wines both from Texas vinifera and hybrid varieties. They built a winery capable of producing 15,000 cases, put Blanc Du Bois on the map as a premium grape variety winning 340 medals (and counting) within Texas and beyond, and further put Texas wine on the global map in developing their legendary Texas Madeira. The time, passion, and desire put forth by these two Texas wine innovators helped raise our flag on the global wine stage where it can be proclaimed that Texas can, indeed, produce premium world-class wines.