Meet the people that make up Lost Oak Winery
Gene Estes, President and Vintner
Gene was born and raised in Abilene, Texas - home of three religious universities, designated a dry precinct, and a 150 mile drive to buy an alcoholic beverage. This probably had something to do with his decision to start making wines from Concord grape juice at the age of 23. Gene made his first wine in 1963 in his parent’s garage from Concord grape juice. It exploded.
After serving in the Army in Vietnam, Gene retuned to the United States in 1966. He began graduate school at Texas Tech University and earned a Masters of Science degree in Microbiology. He entered the pharmaceutical world with jobs in North Carolina, and at Alcon Labs in Fort Worth, Texas. His favorite assignment was spending two years in Alsace to get FDA approval of the ophthalmic solutions that Alcon produced there for sale in the US market. Of course, he spent his weekends touring and learning the wine industry of perhaps the premier white wine region of the world. While he was there, he earned a medallion of distinction with the Confrérie Saint-Etienne for his keen tasting skills as a connoisseur of wine after undertaking a formal and vinous admission test.
When Gene returned to the U.S., he bought property in Burleson, purchased wine grape vines and put them in pots until he could plant them. And thus Lost Oak Winery was born. Lost Oak has gotten to where it is today with a great labor of love.
Gene served as president of the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) in 2008, has served on their Board for numerous years and chaired their Education and Research Committee. In 2018 Gene was awarded the John E. Crosby, Jr. Award which recognizes lifetime achievement in the Texas wine and grape industry.
Anyone who meets Gene senses his passion, enthusiasm and energy to grow wine grapes and produce excellent wines in Texas - perhaps the most hostile environment in the world to do so - but as Gene claims, it is a testament to the Texas mentality of doing the impossible.
Roxanne Myers, General Manager
Gene's stepdaughter received a B.S. degree in Pharmacology/Toxicology in 2001 from University of Wisconsin. She sold reference books door to door for Southwestern in 2001 and 2002 and earned sales person of the year in spite of the fact that anyone can download encyclopedias on line. She became a Medical Sales Rep. for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 2004. For the next five years, she lived in Ecuador where she has traveled, achieved fluency in Spanish, worked in sales and taught English to natives. She began at Lost Oak Winery in February 2007, and is now Lost Oak's General Manager. In addition to her role at Lost Oak Winery, Roxanne is busy with Lost Oak Family Brands as General Manager of Vintage Lane Wines and Partner of Ethaka Travel.
Jim Evans, Winemaker
Jim is a Texas A&M University graduate who has been harvesting grapes and making wine in Texas since 1981. He went to work making wine for the University of Texas Experimental Viticulture and Enology program in 1984 and continued in that position until 1996 when he became Winemaker for Robert and Jamey Wolf of Lone Oak Vineyards. When Gene and Judy purchased Lone Oak (now Lost Oak Winery) in 2006, Jim came as a package deal with the Winery.
Jim has had a lifetime of achievements in the Texas Wine industry. In both 1997 and 2017 Jim was awarded the Louis F. Qualia Award by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) which recognizes a pioneering spirit in a Texas winemaker or grape grower. He was awarded this for his work with home winemakers across Texas. In 2003 Jim received from TWGGA the John E. Crosby, Jr. Award which recognizes lifetime achievement in the Texas wine and grape industry. In addition, Jim was president of TWGGA in 2014 and has served on the TWGGA Board for numberous years. Jim is co-author, along with Nancy Barrus, of the book "A Handbook for Wine and Must Analysis."
In 2011, Jim celebrated 30 years of winemaking in Texas. He claims, that wine is made in the vineyard. A winemaker should just guide the process and not interfere too much. Let the wine be an expression of the grape.
Mariam Copeland, Executive Administrator & Marketing
Mariam has a B.S. degree in Zoology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in a forensic lab, administration and as a full-time horse trainer and riding instructor before joining Lost Oak Winery in May of 2012. Mariam handles the daily behind-the-scenes activities that help keep Lost Oak Winery running smoothly. From the details of the wines, managing the website and Social Media sites, making online and print media advertising and even accounting and bookkeeping, she does a little bit of it all. If you can't find Mariam at Lost Oak Winery, she's either at home with her husband Chris and 2 dogs, or at the barn where she trains horses for dressage and jumping... or enjoying a trail ride on her horse.
Angela Chapman, Operations Manager & Wine Educator, WSET III
Angela Chapman has been in the wine and spirits industry for in 2010 and has been studying wine, wine making, and spirits even longer. She got her start working at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits, where she discovered her real passion for wine. Her extensive knowledge of wine is thanks, in part, to the prestigious Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level III Certification she earned in 2013. She passed the tasting portion of the exam with distinction and the written portion with merit. Having a natural love for her home state of Texas and of Texas wine, she came to Lost Oak to learn hands-on about all things grapes and wine. Angela joined Lost Oak Winery in June of 2014 bringing her expertise to our daily Operations. Working at Lost Oak Winery, Angela has acquired experience in all aspects of the business from the vineyard and winemaking to managing the Tasting Room and Wine Club. When Angela is not at Lost Oak Winery she is spending time with her Husband Nick, stepson Xander and their house full of animals.