Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
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!
Every year the Lost Oak Team heads out to the High Plains to check in on our grape growers. This year was more educational than usual because we also had the opportunity to stop in Plains Texas for Newsom Grape Day, a free event held every year by Neal and Janice Newsom of Newsome Vineyards. Growers, winemakers, and anyone interested in Texas wine gather to hear experts address a topic that affects grapes and wine. This year’s topic was Soil! Dirt may not sound all that exciting, but it was truly fascinating how this plant necessity can have a BIG impact on the finished product. Most wine enthusiasts know that soil can add to the terroir characteristic of wine. It is one of the big reasons that a Merlot from Australia does not taste the same as a Merlot from California. But soil is more important to winemaking than just its terroir contributions. It is directly responsible for much of the vine’s ability to grow and sustain itself.
As a grower or potential grower, soil can be your best friend or worst enemy. We spent the day looking at presentations on soil mapping, soil compositions, soil striations, chemical compositions of soil, and topographical maps. We even went outside and looked in a freshly dug soil pit. So, why is dirt so important? Why spend a whole day discussing it and looking at it?
Grapevines are hardy and will grow just about anywhere, but just because grapes will grow just about anywhere does not mean that you will get the best grapes out of just any old piece of land. Topsoil that is too thin means the roots could hit bedrock and become stunted. Soil that does not drain well could mean too much water for the vines. Soil with too much drainage means a grower may have to use more water than expected. Nutrient-deficient soil could mean that the vines struggle to produce fruit. Soil with uneven nutrients may result in a vineyard that does not produce an even crop yield. Soil with certain chemical compounds can result in grapes with higher or lower than expected pH.
Following the topography and soil maps can also help a potential grower map out the design of their vineyard more efficiently. This soil and topographic information can identify how to break up a vineyard into blocks for optimal production and ease of use of the land. Topographical maps can even help identify areas that may be more affected by freezes.
One thing is for sure: grape growing is not for the impulsive! It takes immense amounts of planning, managing, and maintenance.
Thank you to everyone at Newsom Grape Day for having us and cheers to all our growers. Their hard work makes it possible for us to provide you with excellent wine!
Spring Fruit Salad
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ½ tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups fresh pineapple
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 3 Kiwis, peeled & sliced
- 3 bananas, sliced
- 2 oranges, peeled & sectioned
- 1 cup grapes, green or red
- 2 cups blueberries
Make the Sauce:
Combine all above ingredients except vanilla and bring to boil over med-high heat. Reduce to med-low heat and cook until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla. Set to cool.
- Layer fruit in a large bowl. Pour sauce over fruit. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. This allows juice to soak into the fruit and enhance the flavors.
All of these fruits are readily available now and this combination makes a beautiful and delicious dish. The sauce is the secret and it preserves the fruit for days. Enjoy with Lost Oak Winery Blanc Dubois Sweet.
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!
Prosciutto, Date & Goat Cheese Appetizer
- 2 slices of Prosciutto (cut into quarters)
- 1/2 small log (4 oz.) of fresh goat cheese
- 1 TBSP of milk
- 1/2 tsp dried Thyme leaves or 2 TBSP of fresh Thyme leaves
- 2 large pitted Medjool dates (Quartered)
- Mix goat cheese, milk, and thyme in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper
- Place the one quartered date on one end of quartered Proscuitto
- Top date with goat cheese mixture
- Roll prosciutto around both
- Secure with toothpick
Proscuitto, Pineapple & Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 slices of Proscuitto, quartered
- 1 package of fresh mozzarella
- pineapple (fresh or canned)
- Balsamic Glaze
- Pre-heat oven to 400F degrees
- Quarter each slice of Prosciutto
- Place a small slice of mozzarella on one end of sliced prosciutto
- Place cube of pineapple on cheese
- Roll prosciutto around both and secure with a toothpick
- Bake on the top rack of oven for 10 minutes
- Drizzle with a small amount of Balsamic Glaze (Nona Pia's)
comments: You can use melon, strawberry, pear, apple, peach, or any fruit in season with a small "torn" piece of prosciutto on top as a quick and easy appetizer. Top with fresh mint or basil for an extra flavor and pair with our Red Moscato!
Q: Tell us about yourself and how you got started with truffle making.
A: I started making truffles about 25 years ago and what I did was I came across a recipe I had for years and never did anything with it. I’ve never made a truffle in my life. I just decided to make some one time to see what it was like because I had never even eaten one before. I made some and took them over to a friend of mine who had been eating truffles all of her life. I asked her to taste them and see if they are any good because I wanted to give them as Christmas gifts. She ate it and said it was one of the best truffles she had ever had.
I started making them around Christmas time, giving them to friends and family. I did that off and on for all those years. I’m retired from law enforcement since three years ago and I decided if I could make a part time gig out of it. I got with a friend of mine who is a pastry chef and took some out to him. He said your truffles are good enough to sell but if you want to sell a lot of them you need to bring them up to standards, maybe molded chocolates instead, and make them colored. I started practicing and practiced for about three weeks and then went to a shop to see if they would be interested in carrying them and they said yes.
I started carrying with this shop and people started calling and wanting. It’s a small business that I do all in my home. I have been mainly selling wholesale but have a few indiviuals who call and buy so I deliver that way. When I got started with Lost Oak Winery, a friend of mine worked there and said they were looking for new chocolate.
Q: What do you love most about chocolates and your business so far?
A: I really enjoy it and have cooked off and on for most of my life. I’ve never done much with chocolate but was always interested in desserts. The biggest thing is it’s enjoyable and I enjoy doing it. I’m happy to see people enjoy something that I’ve made.
Q: In your opinion, what is the connection between chocolate and wine?
A: Everyone always seems to want to pair chocolates with something and when I was approached about the wine end of it, I knew that I liked a little bit of chocolate with wine. They started talking about different flavors and wanted to pair with their different products. I was sent a bottle of Merlot and enjoyed the flavor of the two combined. (Merlot and Amaretto & Grande Marnier).
Q: What’s your favorite chocolate that you make?
A: I like the Amaretto & Grande Marnier I think the best.
Governor Abbot has announced in this recent executive order that we can reopen at 100% without masks. Since only 9% of Texans are fully immunized, Lost Oak Winery will continue to take precautions.
- Our staff will continue to wear masks.
- We will add a few additional seats inside and on the patio
- We will encourage our guests to wear masks but will not require it.
- We will open the outside doors as often as possible.
- In the event that you have an event booked at the event center, we will allow you to operate at the capacity you are comfortable with. When hosting in great Texas spring weather, consider opening up the doors and enjoying fresh air.
We continue with
- Strict cleaning protocols
- Self-guided tastings
- First-come, first-served guided tastings.
- Fabulous outdoor tours limited to 10 guests.
- During events, we will be serving wine through our outside bars to avoid too many guests loitering in close quarters.
- Outdoor seating area layouts comply with the appropriate social distancing guidelines. We ask that you refrain from moving the tables.
- If you choose to use your own chairs, you may sit out on the lawn.
- We encourage contactless payment.
- We adhere to all food safety standards set forth by the Department of State Health Services.
Cheers! And a huge THANK YOU for your support.
February is almost here, the time of year our thoughts turn to romance and love for one special day. But is that one special day just for couples? I think now. Valentine's Day can be for you sweetheart, your best gal pals, or just for you. And what better way to celebrate than with wine and chocolate? Here are some guidelines to help you prepare the perfect wine and chocolate experience.
You cannot go wrong with milk chocolate and a sweet red. Lost Oak's Dolce Rouge has a velvety texture, full body, and delicate sweetness that will meld with the rich and creamy milk chocolate. For a bolder experience, pair dark chocolate with full bodied dry reds. Dark chocolate and dry red wines have tannins in common making them a match made in heaven. We suggest making the experience extravagant with our Shiraz Reserve or Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. You should probably splurge on the chocolate too and try something that is 60% or more cocoa. When pairing chocolates that have additives like fruit or nuts, look for wines with similar flavor profiles. Crimson Oak and chocolate covered cherries would hit the spot. Maybe fancy chocolate just isn't your thing. What about the classic peanut butter cup? Reach for a more fruit forward wine like our Petite Sirah. It may seem like wine and chocolate pairing is only for the red wine drinkers, but this is not true. White wines can complelement many different types of chocolates, the most obvious being white chocolate. White chocolate tends to be more creamy and sweeter than even milk chocolate, so our Sweet Duet would pair perfectly. Dryer whites, like Quartet or Viognier, pair well with chocolates that have caramel or toffee.
But maybe the best pairing advice would be to grab your favorite bottle of wine and an assortment of chocolates and try them all! Wine and food pairing is about exploration and finding what you, your sweetheart, or your gal pals like best.
Lemon Thyme Pork Recipe
Try this simple, flavorful dish with Lost Oak Winery Quartet - a complex, aromatic, fruit forward wine. The lemon in the sauce brings out the citrus notes in the Quartet and we are sure you will love this pairing!
- 4 thin, boneless pork cutlets (chops) approx. 1/2 inch thick
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 lemons
- 1 package fresh thyme (2-3 tsp leaves)
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 cup jasmine rice (you can substitute with 2 packages of 90 second butter & garlic rice)
- 6 tbsp butter
- 6 tbsp sour cream
- 2 tsp chicken stock concentrate (mat use "Better than Bouillon")
- Pat pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil on medium high and cook pork until browned (approximately 2-3 minutes per side). Turn off heat and set pork aside to rest.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in bottom of rice pan. Saute 1 clove garlic approximately 30 seconds. Bring water to boil in pan with butter and garlic. Add the rice and cook.
- Make the sauce. Add 2 tbsp butter to pork fry pan, saute 1 clove minced garlic and thyme leaves approximately 30 seconds. Stir in chicken stock concentrate and 1/2 cup water and simmer. Stir in sour cream, 2 more tbsp butter, juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1 tbsp). Season with pepper.
- Fluff rice. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Top with pork. Spoon sauce over all. Serve with lemon wedges,.