Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
When Rylee isn't drinking wine, she enjoys Dr. Pepper. "I used to be obsessed with Dr. Pepper and would only drink it for the longest time until one of my co-workers introduced me to getting healthier. Now, I mainly just drink water and Dr. Pepper once in awhile for a nice treat after a long day." When she isn't at work, Rylee likes to spend her time with her friends. She also works as a waitress, works on art projects, or tries to catch up on sleep.
In her spare time, Rylee has been watching the TV show, Shameless, with her dad when he has time. "My sophomore year of high school, I would binge Grey's Anatomy and maybe in class too, which wasn’t a good idea! Then I moved to Vampire Diaries and would stay up all night watching it on weekends." One of her favorite foods is sweets. "Junk food is by far my favorite food even though it’s not healthy for you at all. I have a weakness for sweets. My favorite healthy food is any kind of fruit."
When it comes to her prior work experience that helps her do her job at Lost Oak Winery, she attributes her other job as waitressing that helped her develop and be confident in her people skills and small talk. She has been working as a waitress for three years and has worked at Lost Oak for 10 months as a barback.
"One day, on a sangria Thursday, we made the sangria ahead of time to be extra prepared. It was sitting in one of the refrigerators in the back. When it was time to get the container full of sangria, she had tried to pick it up and move it to the rolling table so it was easier to move it," Rylee said. "However, when she got it she slipped and busted her bottom and split the sangria all over her. It was so funny after we made sure she was okay."
We are lucky to have Rylee on our team and we appreciate everything she does at the winery! We will also miss her as she goes off to college, but lucky to still have her included in the Lost Oak family.
Meet Ally, one of our incredible tasting room staff members and is incredibly valued in the Lost Oak family.
When Ally isn't drinking wine, she's drinking Topo Chico after a friend introduced it to her a few years ago. When she isn't at work, she spends her free time with her boyfriend. The two recently visited Pal Duro Canyon and it's now their new goal to visit every state park in Texas! "I'll also be going back to the school in the fall. So my life will mostly consist of being here, at home, or on a trail somewhere!"
In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies and her all time favorite show is Stranger Things--and has watched it through three times! . "I'm more of a movie person, so when I find something good, I'm totally hooked." One of her favorite foods is the waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A paired with spicy ketchup!
When it comes to her prior work experience that helps her do her job at Lost Oak Winery, she attributes to volunteer work for a library and for her church. Before Lost Oak, Ally didn't know much about wine or Lost Oak and has learned everything while being here! Ally has been a keyholder for a little over a year and a half.
"The funniest thing that has happened to Ally was when the hijinks customers got into in their car during the pandemic made me think I was going to die of secondhand embarrassment. Praise the Lord that Zack was there to handle that because I was at a loss for words. We laugh about it now, but I was frozen at the time. Thanks for handling that like a champ, Zack!"
We are lucky to have Ally on our team and we appreciate everything she does at the winery!
Meet Ryan who has been an incredible addition to the Lost Oak family! Ryan has always been hardworking and extremely valuable to the tasting room.
When Ryan isn't drinking wine, he has various brands of beer and seltzers. He enjoys them mainly because they are the best to drink outdoors where he likes to spend a lot of his time. He also has said he's no stranger to straight whisky or a mixed drink with vodka. When he's not at the winery, he is usually resting at home or doing some work around the house, but when he has the chance, he enjoys being at the lake or traveling. The last shows Ryan binge watched were The Last Kingdom, Shameless, and Ozark.
When it comes to previous experience, he didn't have very much experience in the hospitality industry when he first started at Lost Oak, but did have a brief moment in college when he worked at a liquor store and it was one of his favorite jobs ever. "If I can contribute any prior experience that has helped me now it definitely has to be from there." Ryan has been with the Lost Oak team for about three years.
One of the funniest thing to happen while working was having accidentally walked in on drunk customers in the restroom that have forgotten to lock the door. "That's been really unfortunate for the both of us."
We are lucky to have Ryan on our team and we appreciate everything he does at the winery!
Meet Virginia, one of our beloved and amazing tasting room staff! Virginia has been hardworking and highly valuable in our Lost Oak family.
When Virgina isn't drinking wine, she enjoys a glass of red wine each evening to help wind down and relax On occasion, she enjoys a Whisky (Weller ) and water (of course, there is always room for the occasional Margaritas). When she's not at the winery, she volunteers as a Youth Leader in my church of St. Ann's. Virginia and her husband really enjoy RV camping and have been to a few Wine Festivals in New Mexico, Arizona, and Fredericksburg. Virginia has used Netflix as a go-to entertainment, especially during the pandemic and has found herself binge-watching Longmire and the Ozarks, and a Hallmark movie from time to time.
When it comes to previous experience, Virginia has had her educational background help her to be a better Wine Tasting Specialist. She says that she is a quick study when it comes to educating customers about wine and has always enjoyed helping and guiding people to make good choices. Her prior experience with people has helped her to make connections with others and just enjoy the conversation. "Most people come to the winery to enjoy a good glass of wine and a conversation where someone listens to them. The listening helps me learn more about them, so that they may enjoy the experience." Virginia has worked at the Lost Oak winery for almost 11 years and has learned a lot from our sommeliers that have been associated with Lost Oak Winery. "Gene and Judy, as well as Jim, have really been great to learn and work from them. There is more to wine than just drinking it. So much science!!"
One of the funniest things to happen at the winery for Virginia was when one of her former students grown up and of age to drink came up to the bar. She wasn't certain of the age so she carded him and he addressed her as Mrs. McCrocklin. Virginia recognized his name and he was so excited to be able to come behind the bar and give her a hug. "It was exciting for me to see him but a little awkward to serve him."
We are lucky to have Virginia on our team and we appreciate everything she does at the winery!
Meet Nina, one of our amazing event center staff! Nina is often responsible for the setup in our event center making her a valuable member of our event team.
When Nina isn't drinking wine, she is drinking coffee with splenda and a splash of cream. When she's not at the winery,During the week I'm at my other job, doing paralegal work for a local attorney. I also try to spend 1-2 hours a day at my favorite gym, Huguley Fitness Center! On Sundays you'll find me at Pathway Church where I've been a member for over 12 years. "I also love to spend time with family and friends dining at local restaurants." Nina doesn’t watch too much TV but recently she caught up on the Queen’s Gambit and Behind Her Eyes on Netflix during the February blizzard. Nina’s favorite breakfast meal is an egg white omelet with coffee. For lunch and dinner, she prefers salad and fish. She will never turn down dessert!
When it comes to her prior work experience that helps her do her job at Lost Oak Winery ,she has been working retail since her high school days, and every job thereafter has included some form of customer service. As a paralegal, Nina answers phones and emails and responds to client's questions and concerns. She also serves at Pathway Church at the Welcome Center and recently started to serve on the Funeral Team. She graduated from college in the early to mid 90"s and has been working as a paralegal ever since.
The funniest thing that has happened to Nina was when the golf cart took a nose dive for the pond because a co-worker forgot to set the brake; or when one of the two stalls in the bathroom backed up an hour before the wedding ceremony was to begin and the plunger wasn't doing the job; or running from feral animals when taking the trash out late at night; or when the kids rolled the barrel into the pond; or when the car drove onto the gravel walkway where no car has driven before.She says that when you're in the moment it doesn't always seem funny, but as you reflect back there have been so many funny good times!
We are lucky to have Nina on our team and we appreciate everything she does at the winery!
Meet Cayla, our employee spotlight for December! Cayla is our event center keyholder and she constantly goes above and beyond to make sure events at the event center turn out perfect. If you are planning an event at Lost Oak, chances are you will get to work with Cayla and you couldn't be in better hands.
When Cayla isn't drinking wine, she loves to drink Dr. Pepper. She hangs out at home with her family when she is not here at Lost Oak Winery. Most of her binge watching on Netflix is controlled by her two little boys so she ends up watching a lot of Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies. It's a good thing that she works at a winery because Cayla says that she lives off of chocolate, coffee, and wine. We can most definitely provide at least one of those things!
Cayla has 8 years of experience in customer service which she says has really helped her when she's giving hopeful clients a tour of our event center. Being able to connect with the client and have them fall in love with the event center like she has is always a bonus for her. She has been working as event center keyholder for a little over a year and she loves it. One of the funniest things that has happened to Cayla on the job was when a coworker spilled coffee on himself and she laughed at him. Right after that, she spilled an entire gallon of coffee all over, her white shoes, and the floor. While it wasn't funny at the time, she laughs about it when she thinks about it now and is just thankful that the event was already over when it happened.
We are so lucky to have Cayla as a part of our team and we know that you will love her as much as we do!
Our Employee Spotlight of the month is Melissa Davis, one of our keyholders! Melissa is always a joy to work with and she is great at what she does! We are lucky to have her. Read more about Melissa below!
What do you binge watch on Netflix?
What do you drink when you aren't drinking wine?
Freshly juiced ginger, appole, beet, carrot & kale.
How many years have you been at Lost Oak Winery?
Where are you when you aren't at the winery?
At home thanks to COVID19.
What is your favorite food?
Yes!!!! But I especially like veggies.
What previous job experience do you have that helps with your current position?
I was a barista. Caffeine (like wine) is great for the soul.
What is the funniest thing that has happened in your time at Lost Oak Winery?
I decided to go run the trail one day and it had just recently rained. When I got to a portion of the trail known for flooding, I decided to keep going despite the water. At first, all seemed okay, but then I started to think about all the snakes that could be in the water that I couldn't see. I used some sweet ballet moves to get through and then hit another area of even deeper flooding. Needless to say, I did not finish the trail that day.
Jim Evans is a pioneer in the Texas wine industry with 40 years of wine making experience. After graduating from Texas A&M in 1984, he joined University of Texas’ Experimental Viticulture and Enology program. In 1996, he began making wine for Lone Oak Vineyards. Lone Oak Vineyards would eventually become Lost Oak Winery and Jim has continued making wine here ever since. Wines made by Jim and his team have won countless awards over the years, including five Double Gold medals. He has personally won several prestigious awards. TWGGA awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and the Louis F. Qualia award for Outstanding Contributions to the Texas Wine Industry in 2017. He served as President of TWGGA in 2014.
A lover of all things wine, Jim also enjoys iced tea, although he says he usually wishes it were wine instead. When he isn't at the winery, he's at home in Odessa, thinking about the winery. He makes the trek to Lost Oak Winery many times throughout the year to make wine, and in his absence, our Assistant Winemaker, Angela, holds down the fort. When at home, Jim binge watches Goliath, Breaking Bad, Bosch, and Mondovino. When asked what his favorite food was, he replied, "Wine, with seafood." Jim is known around here as a guy with a great sense of humor who is welcoming and kind to everyone and always full of stories about making wine and drinking it.
Jim claims that wine is made in the vineyard and a winemaker should just guide the process while not interfering too much. We should let the wine be an expression of the grape. His knowledge, passion, and kindness make him a valuable asset at Lost Oak Winery, as well as a great friend.
Zack Shelley, our employee spotlight of the month, is one of our knowledgeable tour guides and tasting room specialists. He is always the first to have fun facts about wine, the winery, science and more. If you ever want to know the history of Lost Oak Winery or the scientific facts about winemaking, Zack is your guy. Read more about Zack and make sure to join him and winemaker, Jim Evans, for a virtual tasting of our new Tempranillo, Shiraz Reserve, and our Cabernet Reserve on September 25th, 2020 at 6 PM!
What are you drinking when you aren't drinking wine?
Bushmill's Black Bush Irish Whiskey, aged 10-12 years in Sherry casks or Maker's Mark Bourbon.
When you aren't at the winery, where are you?
In Colorado, skiing, camping, and visiting friends. Florida at the beach and visiting family. Or, high school football games and dance competitions for my daughter.
What have you binge watched on Netflix?
Harry Potter, Avengers, Indiana Jones. Still waiting for that next 'Avatar' movie to come out! Sorry, I haven't been a huge Netflix only series fan.
What is your favorite food?
BACON! Anything with bacon. Okay, chicken marsala (pounded thinly of course) with baby bello mushrooms and four-cheese ravioli or gnocchi and fresh asparagus, al dente. Great second (or even first) is a nice thick New York Strip Steak cooked Pittsburgh style. Rare, of course, with a nice big baked potato. And no, none of that 'sweet potato' crap!
What prior experience helps you in the job you do at Lost Oak Winery?
Running a non-profit environmental company in Colorado for 10 years. I have a water chemistry background and had my own small water quality lab, working with dozens of municipalities and townships in the Big Thompson River watershed, working with public and numerous state and federal agenies in regard to water quality, water pollution, forest fires, and flooding impacts.
How long have you been working in your area of expertise?
So, I kind of do a little bit of everything here. Tasting room specialist, tour guide, work in production, work in vineyard, work at the event center when needed, and kind of annoy those who have to work directly with me!
Tell me about one of the funniest things that has happened to you in this job.
I won't go into the specifics, but I once had a customer ask me if I'd like to see her belly dance. My coworkers will never let me live it down.
Our Employee Spotlight for May 2020 is Susan Brayfield! Susan is our office manager at Lost Oak Winery. She handles everything from paying bills to purchasing anything we need at the winery to keeping up with our Wine Club. The winery is able to run as smoothly as it does in large part due to Susan's contributions. Not only is she a valuable part of the Lost Oak Team, she is also a joy to be around and is constantly a positive force around the winery. She cares about everyone and is always the first person to suggest throwing other employees birthday parties to make them feel special.
Susan loves coffee with creamer, no matter the flavor. Her favorite food is fajitas with all the fixings and at home she enjoys sitting on her patio reading a good book or watching 30 Rock. Before she started at Lost Oak Winery, Susan was a teacher at middle school. She says that people don't change much after 6th grade and that has been beneficial knowledge in her job. June 3rd will mark her one year "wineaversary" here at Lost Oak, but before she was even a teacher, Susan was a marketing analyst for a pharmaceutical company. This gave her an advantageous understanding of how to use and think about data.
Susan says that she laughs and smiles often when talking with our guests and vendors. She enjoys connecting with other people and helping people choose a wine that they'll like and that will make wine feel accessible. She told someone recently that she thought Texas Trio would go great with a Grump's burger and fries. Sometimes guests are surprised at pairing humble food selections with wine, although it often ends up being delicious. Those types of conversations make her smile on the job.