Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
Spring and summer are where all the action is for grapevines but fall and winter are equally as important for the well-being of the vine, albeit a little boring at times. Like deciduous trees, grapevines lose their leaves in the fall, the sap travels primarily to the roots, and the vine goes dormant. Another way of looking at it is to say that the vine is sleeping.
During this time, the vine is not producing shoots, leaves, or grapes. Instead, it is saving up all its energy for the coming spring where it will once again burst forth with grapey goodness. But just because the vines are asleep doesn’t mean that grape growers can take a break. With all the leaves gone, winter is a great time to assess the health of the vines. It is easier to see cordons and shoots and how they grew during the spring and summer will influence how the grape grower will prune back for next year. Excess rain during the fall could mean that early application of fungicides is necessary. Another thing to look out for is those pesky freezes. Because the sap has moved to the roots, a fully dormant vine is fairly well protected from freezes and cold weather. At least it is in regions where the cold weather is more predictable.
One of the challenges of grape growing in Texas is the wonky weather. Because most parts of Texas rarely see temperatures below freezing for an extended period of time, the grapevines do not always go fully dormant. An advantage of this would be that the vine expends less of its energy stores “waking up” in the spring, thus having more energy to make good grapes. The disadvantage of this is that if Texas does have a snowpocalypse the sap that is left in the trunk and cordons could freeze. This freezing sap expands and damages the cellular structure of the vine. The damage could be minor, and the vine may be able to heal on its own or it could be catastrophic, and the vine could die. There is no rest for the grape grower, and we can not make great wine without happy healthy grapevines.
The Story of Lost Oak
The wine, the business, the family
In the spirit of the holidays, we would like to spread some cheer and tell the classic tale of Lost Oak to you!
The mind behind Lost Oak Winery is founder, Gene Estes. His sense of passion for the wine industry and dedication to growing wines has been the backbone of Lost Oak Winery. Gene Estes was born in Abilene, Texas. After returning from Vietnam in 1966, Gene attended Texas Tech University and graduated with a Master of Science degree in Microbiology. Gene had a 40-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. He studied Viticulture via correspondence and had the good fortune to learn from native growers in Alsace France during an assignment in his final years at Alcon.
The first Lost Oak vineyard was planted in 1998 and started out as an experimental vineyard, growing many varieties to observe. The first varietals planted were Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Leon Millot, Chambourcin, Chardonel, and Shiraz. “Making a great wine requires superior wine grapes, lots of devotion, time, and sacrifice,” Gene said. Today, the estate vineyard focuses on Shiraz.
In the last few years, Lost Oak has grown into what it is today due in large part to Gene’s daughter, Roxanne who joined the business in early 2007. Roxanne’s emphasis on events and her marketing and people skills have been key to this success. From Tasting Room to President, she can be credited with growing Lost Oak Winery in the last 13 years, developing a robust event business, and helping Lost Oak to expand into the Hill Country.
We have all been waiting patiently for this time of year, and it’s not because of the decorations, the parties, the presents, or even the impending arrival of Santa… It’s all about the Christmas movies! It doesn’t have to be Halloween to watch a scary movie or Valentine’s Day to watch a romantic movie, but Christmas movies are something special. Nothing solidifies the Christmas spirit like snuggling up under a warm blanket, toasty socks on, the twinkling of the lights on the tree in the background, and turning on a beloved Christmas movie. But the big question is not what movie you are going to watch but what are you going to drink while watching it? We have some great Christmas movie and wine pairings for your holiday enjoyment.
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Mulled Wine with Holiday 2019
Starting with one of the Classics, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just a kid trying desperately to find the Christmas spirit amongst commercialism and consumerism. Charlie Brown just can't seem to get it from aluminum trees to a dog who wins a Christmas decorating contest until the heartwarming ending. This needs a wine just as classic as it is. We suggest making a warm spiced wine recipe. Click here for our favorite recipe and use Lost Oak's Holiday 2019.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas- Rosa Blanca
Keeping with the classics, we’ll move on to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There are a lot of different versions of this one, but the story is always the same: Green guy hates Christmas and steals it only to find out Christmas isn’t a thing you can steal. Much like Charlie Brown, it doesn’t get sweet and sappy till the end. In fact, the Grinch is so despicable you are going to need a sweet wine to balance out his sourness. We suggest Rosa Blanca 2019. The cheery, pink hue will keep the grinchyness from taking over before the delightful ending.
3. Elf- Viognier Reserve
On the opposite side of the Grinch, we have Elf. Buddy is a little too enthusiastic about Christmas… and he likes the sweets a little too much. Yes, like the others before, it has an amazingly heartwarming ending and everyone believes in the magic of Christmas, but there is a lot of candy-coated gooeyness to get through, so we suggest a dry white wine like our Viognier Reserve. The dry oakiness will balance out Buddy’s love for maple syrup on spaghetti noodles.
4. Home Alone - Any Wine!
Nothing epitomizes the craziness of the holidays like Home Alone. Parents’ worst nightmare-kids' dreams come true- until you find yourself fighting off “The Wet Bandits.” It's absolute ridiculousness and absurdity but such fun. Who didn’t want to be Kevin setting up all those traps and sneaking around? The wine pairing for this; any wine you want, but drink it out of a mug. You’re a kid left alone for the holidays! No one's watching, who needs the fancy glass?
5. Die Hard- Shiraz Reserve
We have a controversial Christmas movie up next: Die Hard. Hey, they can’t all be sticky with Christmas joy, sometimes they need explosions and for the bad guy to die… hard. All the haters should know that it happens on Christmas, so it is a Christmas movie. But what company has their Christmas party on Christmas? The best advice I have is don’t try and logic it, just enjoy the action and the delightful Christmas backdrop while sipping on Shiraz Reserve. A movie this bold and iconic deserves a wine to match it.
6. A Christmas Story- Mimosa with Texas Duet
What movie is famous for being played for TWENTY-FOUR HOURS on Christmas Day? A Christmas Story. Whether you sit down and watch it at least once all the way through or have it on for background noise and pop in and out of it, there is no denying its place at the top of the Christmas movie pantheon. The hilarity and heartwarming-ness of it don’t stem from the crazy antics, but how eerily accurate it is to an average family’s Christmas. Of course, we don’t all win a big award that turns out to be a leg lamp, but we can all relate to the way the Parker family reacts to everyday life. This is a marathon movie which means your wine choice needs to keep up, we suggest making a spritzer or mimosa with Texas Duet, so you can enjoy A Christmas Story allllll day.
Have your own pairing in mind? Pick from any of our wines to pair with your favorite Christmas movie!
How to Create the Perfect Wine Cellar in Your Home
For those who appreciate a good glass of wine, having the right storage makes pouring a nice glass of vino easy. A wine cellar will provide you with a place to organize your favorite bottles for easy access and stylish organization. Before wine lovers can celebrate this new addition, it’s important to decide what type of cellar you want. Whether it’s a secret stash of wine under the kitchen counters or a custom wine bar, you need to pick a spot where your wine will be stored. Think about the location, functionality, and aesthetics of your new wine cellar to help you design the ultimate spot. Read on for some tips that will help you create the perfect wine cellar at home.
Location and Other Considerations
Once you decide that a wine cellar is right for you, there are a few key things to consider. First, think about the location of your wine cellar and how much space it will take up in your home. If you have a basement, this can be a perfect spot for a new wine cellar. If you’re limited on space, you’ll need to find a designated part of your home where you can store a few bottles. A separate part of your kitchen can be a perfect place for a small wine cellar. You can even use the space under a staircase for unique wine storage. Make sure you take the location into consideration and choose the coolest area of your home or an area with higher levels of humidity. If the new wine cellar will be a major addition to your home, take the scope of the project into account. If you’re adding onto your home, think about structural changes like installing soffits and wall studs and putting up new drywall which can be costly and time-consuming.
Things to Consider Before You Build
Once you’re ready to build your wine cellar, there are a lot of crucial things to examine before you commit. Here are some key considerations to think about before you start designing your new cellar:
How will you use the wine cellar? Will it be a place where you can entertain friends or just a storage space for your favorite wines? Make sure you declutter the space and clean it thoroughly before you work on adding new elements to the structure.
Understand how to store and maintain your wine properly. Without the right storage conditions, wine can go bad which means your treasured bottle of vintage red wine could be wasted.
Look into adding specific components like the right insulation, a vapor or moisture barrier, and find ways to ensure that your wine cellar has an airtight seal.
Think about the materials you plan to use for your wine cellar. Glass may look nice, but it’s not a good insulator. If you have your heart set on a glass door, make sure it’s double glazed or that it features an argon-filled portion between two panes to keep the room insulated. Concrete is often used for basement walls, but it will need additional insulation if you plan to store wine there. Use plywood to cover existing walls or to build new walls since it can withstand moisture better than drywall.
Invest in a good, high-quality cooling unit to keep the temperature at an optimum level. While this may cost you a bit more upfront, it’s wise to invest in something high-quality to save you money in the long run. Basements tend to be extremely hot without the right cooling equipment in place.
You can build your own custom wine rack or choose a prebuilt rack that will accommodate your desired number of bottles.
Wine bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so don’t forget to install racks or shelving that are adjustable or that feature different designs to fit different bottles.
Make sure you plan your budget in advance and try not to go over your limit. Talk to several contractors and get a few estimates if you don’t think you can stay within your budget by doing things DIY.
Maintaining Your Wine Cellar
While you definitely want your new wine cellar to look fabulous with some chic décor, it’s also important that you maintain it, so your bottles of wine remain in good condition. Here are some tips to ensure that your wine cellar is taken care of the right way:
The temperature and humidity levels need to be consistent for wine to stay fresh, so invest in a good digital thermometer and hygrometer. A hygrometer reads the humidity levels in the air to help you monitor the conditions in your wine cellar. Look for new products that feature wireless capabilities so you can check the status of your wine cellar from your phone.
Keep your wine cellar clean, and don’t let dust accumulate on the bottles. If a bottle breaks or something spills, clean it up immediately to prevent pests from making your wine cellar their home.
Install some soft lighting in your wine cellar so you can see everything clearly. Recessed lighting is a good choice for basements since they won’t take up too much space. Choose lightbulbs that emit a soft, warm light and avoid harsh ultra-bright lights that could compromise the integrity and flavor of your wine. LED lights are a good option since they don’t produce a lot of heat.
If possible, choose an area of your home that doesn’t have direct sunlight. If your wine cellar has windows, make sure you cover them with a good set of blinds or some quality room darkening curtains.
Wine Storage Guide
Maintaining your wine cellar is important, but you also want to make sure that your wine is stored properly.
If wine is exposed to sunlight, the amino acids can oxidize and change the flavor. Keep your wine in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight and away from fluorescent lights. White wine is especially vulnerable to sunlight since most wineries bottle it in clear glass. Smell your wine when you open it and look for any unpleasant smells which could mean that it has already become oxidized.
Store wine bottles with corks on their side instead of upright. This will slow down the oxidation process and keep the cork moist, so it doesn’t rot or fall apart. You can store twist-top bottles upright, but ideally, all wine should be laid in racks horizontally.
Once you open a bottle of wine, it doesn’t typically last more than a week. White wine and rose can last about five to seven days in the fridge if it’s re-corked. Red wine should last about three to five days if you replace the cork and store it in a cool, dark place.
You may be surprised to learn that wine can actually absorb strong odors. If wine is exposed to things like onions or even the trash can in your kitchen, those odors can permeate the cork and get into the wine over time. Avoid exposing your wine to strong odors by keeping it separated from everything else in your home. Adding a door with an airtight seal will help to keep unpleasant odors from seeping into your wine cellar.
Your wine racks can be made of anything you like including solid wood or metal. It’s easy to make DIY wine racks yourself if you want to save money. You can even choose your favorite type of wood and finish it in your desired color for a custom look. Just make sure you make enough racks to hold plenty of bottles with room to spare.
Store and Care for Your Wine in Style
A custom wine cellar is a great way to keep your wine safely stored. Look for some unique inspiration online to add décor and lighting to this space, especially if you plan to use it for entertaining or tastings. You can create your wine cellar DIY or hire a contractor if you’re planning to make major changes to your home. If you’re just choosing a small space like an area under a staircase, creating your own wine cellar DIY should be a fairly easy process. Make sure you follow these tips about how to store your wine properly so that it lasts for many years until you’re ready to open it.
Creating a custom wine cellar in your home is a great way to enjoy your favorite bottles of wine while keeping them protected. Look for unique design ideas and inspiration that will help you add a personal touch to your storage space. Keep wine bottles out of direct sunlight and check the air temperature and humidity levels to ensure they’re always at a consistent level. With these simple tips, your new wine cellar is sure to be the envy of the neighborhood.
It's turkey time at Lost Oak and we are here to answer that age-old question; What wine should I pair with Thanksgiving dinner?
Don’t worry, our resident wine nerd, Angela, has you covered. We have four wines that will pair perfectly with everything on your Thanksgiving table but to also please everyone sitting at the table.
1. Holiday Red 2019
First up we have our yearly Holiday release! A versatile dry red that is more on the fruity side. Rich with flavors of ripe berries it will compliment everything from turkey to mashed potatoes and everything in between.
But if you have friends or family that are looking for something a little drier, we have the Montepulciano. Its character is a little more spicy with rich tannins making it the perfect compliment to ham and some of your creamy side dishes.
For the white drinkers in your life, we have our Gewurztraminer. A wonderfully, friendly wine reminiscent of figs and nectarines, this wine is the perfect starter to your evening. Have it with your appetizers or with you while you are cooking.
4. White Holiday
Last but not least is our White Holiday. This dessert wine needs no pairing, it is decadent and rich all on its own. However, no Thanksgiving is complete without pie, and this is just the wine you want while enjoying that slice of apple, pumpkin, or pecan pie!
Come into the tasting room to pick up all four wines together and ready to take to your Thanksgiving table.
- 2 pounds fresh yellow and zucchini squash sliced ¼” thick (about 6 cups)
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 2 eggs well beaten
- 1/2 cup of butter melted
- 2 cups of Julienned carrots (strings) or 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 1 red pepper - chopped
- 3 cups of Stuffing mix (cornbread mix or regular seasoned mix)
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Sautee squash, onion & pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter
- In a large bowl mix sour cream, Cream of chicken soup, ½ cup of melted butter, Julienned carrots (strings), and eggs.
- Fold in squash mixture
- Grease (or spray) a large casserole dish with cooking oil
- Make 2 layers:
- Alternate ½ squash mixture and 1½ cups stuffing mix
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes
- Top with grated cheddar cheese.
- Return to oven to melt grated cheese before serving.
Our warm spiced Roussanne is the perfect drink for a cold evening. As it is warming up, the smell of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove will fill your home, bringing you memories of Christmas and drinking apple cider fireside. Try out this recipe for a warm treat.
Warm Spiced Roussanne Recipe
3 bottles of White Holiday 2018
1 honeycrisp apple (sliced, but not peeled)
1/2 tbs whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
1-2 slices fresh ginger (approx. 1 in. diameter & 1/8 in. thick, or use a vegetable peeler and shave off a couple strips.
Brown sugar or honey to taste (optional)
Pour bottle of White Holiday into a crockpot.
Insert whole cloves into the flest part of the apple slices and put into the crockpot.
Add orange juice, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and ginger to crockpot.
Stir to combine. Heat on low for about 2 hours, do not simmer or boil. Once everything heats up you can add brown sugar or honey to taste.
Remove the cloves from soaked apples and discard. Use the soaked apples and fresh cinnamon sticks for garnish.
Enjoy a warm glass next to the fireplace for a holiday treat!
Our Employee Spotlight for the month of November Lost Oak's very own president, Roxanne Myers! She has been part of the Lost Oak history and has helped grow the winery into what it is today!
What do you binge watch on Netflix?
Pablo Escobar & Monarca
What do you drink when you aren't drinking wine?
What is your favorite food?
How many years have you been at Lost Oak Winery?
Where are you when you aren't at the winery?
Home. I have two kids who love to be home.
What previous job experience do you have that helps with your current position?
"That's a great question. I think by studying science at University, working in sales and traveling alone, living in various parts of the world and just slowly developing a drive, resilience and postiive attitude in any/all areas of life have helped in my job at Lost oak winery."
What is the funniest thing that has happened in your time at Lost Oak Winery?
"When I bartered wine for entertainment and the music was so terrible, I had to ask them to leave the stage and called in the only other musician I knew to come in from Dallas. We stayed open hours later than planned. I cried."
Halloween is just around the corner and that means lots and lots of candy! But before you raid your kid's trick or treating haul, you might want to give some thought to what wines would pair with your candy selection. Here are some basics to keep in mind for wine and candy pairing. Chocolate and red wine were made for each other. Dryer red wine tends to go better with darker chocolates, but you’d be surprised how well it goes with milk chocolate too. White wines pair well with fruity candies, but they can also go with white chocolate. Here is a quick guide for some of the more common Halloween candies:
1. Quartet and Candy Corn
Love them or hate them, candy corn is here to stay. If you are not a candy corn enthusiast, perhaps try it with our Quartet wine. Quartet has flavors in droves and will bring out flavor nuances in the otherwise bland candy corn.
2. Tempranillo and Recee's Cup
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are always a favorite to sneak out of your kid's candy stash. Its tantalizing blend of chocolate and peanut butter makes it a great pairing for Tempranillo.
3. Sweet Riesling and Jolly Rancher
Jolly Ranchers are the quintessential fruity hard candy. The best way to enjoy this candy is to find your favorite flavor and plop it into a glass of Sweet Riesling! It will change the color of the wine as you drink and add its signature flavor to the wine.
4. Meritage and Snickers
Snickers is another candy that you just can’t have Halloween without. Most of us are so used to this candy staple that we forget that it is a unique combination of chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and nougat. That is a lot of flavors crammed into one glorious candy! It requires a wine of equal complexity, such as the Meritage. After all, it is a combination of 3 different wines.
When Samantha isn't drinking wine, she likes to pair cocktails based on what she's eating at the time. "Spicy margarita's for Mexican food, Aperol Spritz with italian, and gin martini's for everything else."
When she isn't at work, Samantha loves to travel. "I'm actually going to Costa Rica for Christmas and getting married in Barcelona!" She also enjoys hanging out with her cats, Tex and Tuna, and taking frequent walks around the neighborhood. Samantha also loves to experiment with new recipes and cook in the kitchen with her sister, trying out new plant-based recipes. Her favorite at the moment is cashew queso.
Samantha enjoys watching TV inluding new shows and binging old ones!
"I'm currently binging Seinfeld but I can't wait for the new seasons of Bridgerton and Emily in Paris. Gilmore Girls is my all-time favorite show so I frequently re-watch episodes of that on Netflix."
Her favorite food is chips and salsa. She claims the best combo is the house-made chips from H.E.B and the salsa from Joe. T Garcias. "As a born-and-raised Texan, I can eat chips & salsa till the cows come home."
Samantha attributes her success as an event coordinator at Lost Oak Winery to her food truck start-up where she also became adept at organizing catering events for a few thousand people. "We began with the sole purpose of simply bringing more healthy options to the UT Austin campus. Facetrack one year and our food truck had became so popular that we were catering events with SXSW, Kendra Scott, & Dell Computers to name a few."
Samantha has been working in the industry for about four years but started her Lost Oak journey about four months ago. One of her favorite memories is when her fiance started working with her.
"My fiance, Trevor and I started working together at Lost Oak as something to do together while he went back to school. However, since taking on this new role I am technically his boss. I joke that it's the only reason I took the position."
We are lucky to have Samantha on our team and we appreciate everything she does at the winery!