Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
Since 2015, Meals on Wheels has partnered with HEB and Lost Oak Winery to create a beautiful area for families to enjoy the outdoors, grab some cute Fall family pictures and support our senior neighbors.
From the idea 5 years ago, this event has raised over $12,720 for our senior neighbors and continues to be a community favorite! Throughout the years, we have struggled with rainy months, have celebrated the patch going “viral” and we all continue to be thankful to all who come out! It is a labor of love – a true community partnership. HEB generously donates the pumpkins and Lost Oak Winery generously provides the Fall decorations and creative designs to keep the area looking spectacular!
Meals on Wheels North Central Texas is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves homebound seniors and disabled persons. Established in 1976 serving Johnson County seniors, expanding in 2001 to include Ellis County, and expanding once again in 2020 to serve Navarro County seniors.
The philosophy of Meals on Wheels is simple. Emphasis is placed on individuals versus numbers; communities as opposed to governmental boundaries; and timely services versus waiting lists.
Our mission is to end hunger and isolation while delivering dignity and Independence.
We mobilize across 2,772 square miles to ensure our seniors are well-fed, safe, and reminded of their value to their community. With almost half of our clients living alone, we are a formidable advocate for a vulnerable population facing food insecurity, unattended injury, and loneliness.
We are truly humbled, honored and thankful for our faithful partners in helping us raise awareness and funding for our isolated senior neighbors.
As the weather cools down, soups and stews start to sound more and more appetizing. This beef and bacon stew is sure to please and is perfect for those cool fall and winter nights. Let us know what you think if you try it out in the comments!
Beef & Bacon Stew Recipe
- 1 bottle of dry red wine (Our Double Diamond Merlot would go perfectly)
- 2 1/2 lb boneless beef chuck roast
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp salt
- 8 oz bacon
- 3 medium red onions
- 3 medium carrots (or 1 package baby carrots)
- 8 garlic cloves
- 4 large sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp white Miso paste or 3 tbsp Miso broth (Japanese section at HEB, Miso & Easy Sauce)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- Open bottle of red wine and pour yourself a glass.
- Cut chuck roast into 2"x2" cubes. They will look like large chunks (try for relatively even sized pieces)
- Quarter 3 red onions. Peel and cut up carrots.
- Crush 7 cloves of garlic and add to bowl with carrots.
- Cut bacon into one inch pieces and add to Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until crisp (11-13 minutes). Remove bacon, leaving grease in pan.
- Increase heat and place meat in one layer to brown for 5-7 minutes. Cook undisturbed (important step). Do not stir. Turn to other side 5-7 minutes then remove from pan.
- Reduce heat and place onions in pan on side and cook (undisturbed) for 2-3 minutes. Turn to other side and repeat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add carrots, garlic, thyme, and Miso seasoning with salt. Don't skip the Miso. It's an important ingredient.
- Sprinkle vegetables with 2 tbsp flour and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the rest of the bottle of wine and cook for 2 minutes.
- Nestle beef and bacon into the pot and add just enough water to barely cover.
- Cook covered in 300 degree oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Uncover, stir, and return to oven until beef is very tender (30-60 minutes)
- Add more miso, salt, and pepper if needed.
- Serve with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes.
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.
I am so excited to see Shiraz back on our wine list, and for the first time we are welcoming a Petite Sirah to the family. But these wine names along with their friend Syrah can be a little confusing.
When it is called Syrah, the style and flavor tend to be more old world, more earthy and savory. Shiraz, on the other hand, is produced in a new world style with more fruit forward (and even jammy) flavors. Petite Sirah, however, is a completely different grape. In fact, in Europe it is known as Durif. Genetic testing has proven that it is a product of cross pollination of Syrah and Peloursin grapes. Because one of its parent grapes is Syrah, it can share some flavor similarities with it which may have prompted the name change to Petite Sirah.
Our new Shiraz Reserve will be available to Wine Club members only. Non Wine Club Members can obtain this Shiraz by purchasing one of our Virtual Tasting Packs up until the tasting on September 25th. This tasting will be led by our winemaker, Jim Evans, and our tour guide and employee spotlight, Zack. Click here to purchase your tasting pack. We look forward to having all of you back out at the winery enjoying some awesome Texas wine!
We are happy to announce, yet another change to our COVID business model! I'm actually cautiously optimistic this time around. The TABC (Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission) has been working with license holders and the Texas Wine and Grape Growers association to make business possible, in a safe way. See details about TABC regulations here.
We have been given permission to open as long as we comply with certain restrictions, mainly operating much like a restaurant.
So, bad news first. For the time being, we can no longer allow you to bring in outside food, and as always, please do not bring in outside alcohol... remember, we are a winery! That means no coolers, no snack packs, no pizza deivery :(
The good news is we have partnered up with fabulous food vendors and we will be adding more as needed. Cherry on Top Catering and Events will be supplying ready-made sandwiches and salads (plenty for a summer meal). We are adding sweet items from Black Bear Bakery.
As always, we have three cheeseboard options, a larger bigger selection, a snack pack to go and kids pack. (More menus on our website soon.)
Music and fun
We will be adding live entertainment several times per week. Stay tuned to our calendar.
New guidelines and rules.
- We ask you please wear a mask inside the tasting room.
- Currently, we will only be offering wine by the glass and wine by the bottle service. We will not do tastings for safety reasons for the time being.
- All wine will be served in plastic. We have glasses for purchase or bring your own!
- We encourage the use of outdoor space; there will be limited indoor seating.
- Outdoor seating area layouts will be modified to comply with the appropriate social distancing guidelines and tables will be limited to 10 or fewer guests. You can pull up your own chair to the table so as long as there are only 10 per table.
- If you choose to use your own chairs, you may sit out in the lawn beyond the Lost Oak seating area. We ask that you maintain social distancing, 6 feet between chairs.
- Floors will be marked to indicate standing areas so as to respect social distancing guidelines for staff and guests.
- Tours are limited to 6 people and social distancing guidelines will be respected. We will resume tours August 21, 2020.
- We encourage contactless payment.
- We adhere to all food safety standards set forth by the Department of State Health Services.
See our commitment to best practices for safety here. Scroll down a little for tasting room.
Red Wine Berry Spritzer Recipe
When it's 95+ degrees here in Texas, heavy drinks and food just don't sound as appealing. If you like drinks like White Claw, this is the cocktail for you! This Red Wine Berry Spritzler is light, low calorie, and cold, making it the perfect summertime drink to get you through these hot summers. They are extremely simple to make as well. Follow along with our private event coordinator, Brooke, as she makes this delicious wine cocktail. You will need one bottle of sweet red wine (we recommend Lost Oak Dolce Rouge), La Croix berry sparkling water, and frozen blueberries or blackberries (or both if you want).
So there you have it! Let us know if you try this recipe in the comments!
Red Wine Berry Spritzer Recipe
Mojitos are a wonderful, light drink option during the summer, especially here in Texas where it gets hot enough for you to be able to cook an egg on the sidewalk. A traditional mojito uses rum, lime, mint, and club soda. This recipe, originally created by the spruce Eats, is a variation using white wine. We recommend using Lost Oak Sauvignon Blanc or Blanc du Bois (dry or sweet works depending on your taste). Once you have chosen your wine, you will need sparkling Italian lemonade, limes, and mint. If you only have a dry wine but would like your cocktail to be a littler sweeter, you can also add some simple syrup.
To start, make sure your wine and sparkling lemonade are both chilled. Combine one 750 mL bottle of wine with 2 cups of Italian Sparkling lemonade. You will then add the juice from two limes. Use fresh lime juice versus bottled lime juice for the best results. Mix in 2-3 tspns of simple syrup if you want a sweeter cocktail. Add the mint right before serving to avoid the leaves turning brown. The original recipe recommends mincing the mint. We don't want tiny bits of mint floating around in our glass, however, so we recommend "spanking" your mint leaves. If you have a muddler, you are free to use that. If not, simply hold the leaves in your hand and smack them between both hands. Rub the mint leaves between your hands very briefly to release those oils and flavors. Then add them to your pitcher and stir to combine.
Once you're mojitos are ready, serve over ice, garnish with a lime and/or sprig of mint, and enjoy! Cheers!
White Wine Mojito Recipe
(Missy Gudal and her husband David own Burning Daylight Vineyards.)
Truth be told, I got into grape growing because my husband told me I could go back to school if we started a vineyard. Before you offer me swamp land in Florida let me assure you that I knew what we were getting into. David had attended a Prospective Winegrape Growers Workshop and we both attended the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Annual Conference before we got started. David grew up on a farm and has always had a garden in which he grows far more than we can eat, pickle, can, or freeze. My history with living plants was not as stellar as his and we often joked that houseplants came to our house to die. However, I happily enrolled in the Viticulture Certificate program at Grayson College in the fall of 2013 and tooled off to Denison for four weekends every semester. At that point our vines had been planted and were up and growing like crazy and somewhere in all the wild mess I became fascinated with grapevines. In fact, I get antsy if I don’t see them every day.
We first met Gene, Jim and Roxanne at the TWGGA Conference in 2012. Everyone we met who found out we lived near Burleson said “you need to talk to Gene Estes” so we set up a time to tour Lost Oak Winery and find out if they would be interested in buying fruit and what varieties they were looking for. Then we went away and planted our vineyard. In 2014 our vines were ahead of schedule and with the help of friends, neighbors, and the wonderful volunteers and crew at Lost Oak Winery we harvested just over 11 tons of grapes. It has truly been a pleasure to work with the great folks at Lost Oak Winery and we love what they do with our grapes!
Our two largest varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. We also have Malvasia Bianca, Vermentino, Malbec and Syrah. Over the years we’ve added some varieties and removed others and our production has increased to 16 tons. We planted 725 more Cabernet Franc vines this spring and since the Syrah has impressed us again this season with its abundant large clusters and open light-filled canopy we would love to plant it in our last expansion zone next spring.
Farming is not an easy job. Crops can be temperamental and require specific conditions. Some environmental conditions can be controlled, such as adding nutrients to the soil and watering when needed. When all the conditions are right, the crops are happy, healthy, and fruitful. When they are not, it can be disastrous. In October of last year there was an unexpected weather event in the High Plains of Texas that threw grape growing into chaos. Being in Burleson, this weather event did not make it to us and we did not know how to process the information our growers were reporting to us: projected massive losses. At the time, no one knew that the word massive was not a strong enough word to describe the devastation.
Massacred Vines at Bingham Family Vineyards
So, what happened? And how could it have been that bad? Grape growing in Texas has many pitfalls. The most common are hailstorms, the Texas heat, and late freezes. All grape growers in Texas have experienced all three of these at one time or another, but what happened in the High Plains was more uncommon. It was an early freeze. A late freeze happens in March or April, usually after the vine has started to bud out. When the freeze occurs, the unexpected cold will kill newly grown shoots and buds. In most cases the vine will survive, but there will be little to no crop that year. But with an early freeze, the extreme temperature drop happens after harvest but before the vine becomes dormant. That should be fine, right? There are no grapes growing so it seems there should be nothing to worry about. That is what I thought, and I was very wrong.
To really understand what had happened, Roxanne, Gene, Jim, and I took a trip to the High Plains to meet with our growers and to see the vines for ourselves. Our growers are a hardy type of folk, they are farmers through and through, with generations of experience in their blood and grit under their fingernails. Imagine our shock when one seasoned grower said to us, “I’m depressed.” Again, we still could not fully understand, so out to the vineyards we headed. What we saw was row after row of damaged or dead vines. It was not merely massive, it was catastrophic.
Angela, Jim, Gene at Krick Hill Vineyard
The growers explained it to me like this: when a vine goes dormant in the winter, all its sap moves to its roots. There it saves up its energy and waits out the worst of the winter until it bursts forth in the spring ready to make grapes. Back in October, the vines had not gone dormant yet, so there was till sap in the cordons and the trunk. The freeze happened so quickly and lasted just long enough that the sap froze inside the vines destroying the interior cellular structure. It gets worse. If the vine was between 1 to 3 years old, it died. If the vine was older, 10+ years, it also died.
But as devastating as this was to see, I was surprised to hear that many of our growers retained an extraordinary amount of hope, including the one who told us that he was depressed. You see, for the most part, those vines that were not too young or too old, survived! They are not in good shape, but an alive vine is something the growers can work with, though it is like starting over from scratch. To begin again, the growers must take a new shoot from the trunk, using the old dead trunk as a guide and bring it up to the trellis. This shoot will become the new trunk and from there new cordons can be trained. It will be a few years before those vines start producing grapes again, but it is still better than replanting everything. And, there is some even better news than that; some varietals were not affected as much as others. We did see acres of vines that looked happy and healthy even if they did not have any grapes on them.
Gene & Roxanne at the Newsom Vineyards Rock'N Bed and Breakfast
Many of the growers looked at this event as a learning opportunity. I heard a lot of talk about different rootstocks for the vines that need to be replanted and an increase in planting the vines that weathered the freeze better. It is always hard to lose a crop, but as farmers they must continually look forward to the next year’s crop. I imagine if you only focus on the bad years it would be impossible to move forward.
We are thankful for our grower’s expertise, diligence, and hospitality as they guided us through their vineyards. Next time you open a bottle of wine, give a heartfelt, “Cheers” to the growers. Afterall, Jim and I believe that good wine is made in the vineyard.
We must make a few changes that affect all of you. We will continue outside service only. We are limiting to bottle service, but are unable to do wine tastings or wine-by-the-glass service at this time.
You can always choose curbside and delivery.
We cannot allow more than 100 people outside so this greatly impacts our event plans. We will begin to have ticketed events allowing no more than 100 people on premise at any given time. During an event, you can pick up wine at any time no problem.
Please wear a mask inside the tasting room.
Get outside! Enjoy our Hike & Bike Trail.
We have committed to standards of practice that encourage visitation, responsibility and safety for our staff, our guests and our community. Here are things we do:
• One individual will be partially dedicated to ensuring the health protocols adopted by the venue are being successfully implemented and followed.
• We will encourage the use of outdoor space; there will be no indoor seating for the time being.
• Outdoor seating area layouts will be modified to comply with the appropriate social distancing guidelines and tables will be limited to 6 or fewer guests. You can pull up your own chair to the table so as long as there are only 6 per table.
• If you choose to use your own chairs, you may sit out in the lawn beyond the Lost Oak seating area. We ask that you maintain social distancing, 6 feet between chairs.
• Floors will be marked to indicate standing areas so as to respect social distancing guidelines for staff and guests.
• Tours are limited to 6 people and social distancing guidelines will be respected.
• We encourage contactless payment.
• We adhere to all food safety standards set forth by the Department of State Health Services.
Our team will do the following:
• Undergo a health screening to ensure they aren’t sick or at risk.
• We will wash hands upon entering and exiting the workplace.
• We comply with appropriate cleaning and sanitization practices as required and recommended by CDC and Governor Abbott. We sanitize customer-contact surfaces such as tables, seats, service bar and other customer touch points.
• We frequently sanitize all common areas and touch points, including but not limited to doorknobs and doorways, windows, faucets, bars, registers, etc.
• We conduct a thorough cleaning of the facility at the end of each shift.
• We will meet with staff before the day starts to review hygiene rules and procedures and to provide timely updates to news and events
Our cleaning practices will include:
• Hand sanitizing stations will be available at the tasting room and event center entrance.
• Hand sanitizer will be available for guests and staff at each station.
• One dedicated staff identified per shift for sanitizing and wiping down tables and contact surfaces, including bathrooms.
• Lost Oak will supply a commercial cleaning product called ACS Lemon Disinfectant that has been recognized by the Center for Biocide Chemistries as a pre-approved EPA disinfectant for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
• All tasting lists and printed material will be disposable and single-use.
At our Event Center, we have more plans. See full details at this link.
We love you guys! Thanks for your patronage and support. See you on the lawn!
*We cannot guarantee that by using these precautions you will not contract coronavirus or any other sickness. All guests may visit at their own risk.