Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
I first saw this 52 acre property in 1995 and was fortunate to find out that it was for sale before it was listed. I loved the slope of the terrain and the soil type (Sandy clay loam). Wine grapes do not like “wet feet”. They like fast draining soils like sand or rock (not heavy clay). I got permission from the owner to do a soil percolation test and the rate (how fast the water drains down through the soil) was excellent. I looked up the region and found that it was in the Cross timbers Ecoregion 29D which was described as excellent for agriculture. I then worked with my Real Estate friend Rob Orr to purchase the property.
We planted our first estate vineyard here in 1998. This was the same year I retired from Alcon. We planted eight different varieties because I wanted to find out which varieties did best in this climate and soil type: Chardonel, Shiraz, Leon Millot, Chambourcin, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, JS12-428 and SV5-247. These vines made up a total of 12 rows (about ½ acre).
In 2004 we planted our second Estate vineyard on the back of our property (about 2.5 acres) and here we planted more Shiraz and Chardonel and 4 more varieties: Ruby Cabernet, Malvasia Bianca, Tempranillo, and Blanc Dubois.
Two years later (2006) I planted our third vineyard which was ½ acres of 100% Lenoir or Black Spanish.
I definitely learned what did well and what did not do well. Shiraz and Blanc Dubois did beautifully. Although the Chardonel did well here I decided to eliminate it in favor of the other two varieties because it was less well known to our customers and it mainly served as a good blending variety. I ripped up the poorer performing varieties and have been replacing them for the past 6 years with Shiraz and Blanc Dubois. All total we now have 3.5 acres of these three varieties on our Estate property.
Then in 2008, I made a deal with a former Alcon colleague who owned property on FM 917 (about 6 miles south of our Estate property). He wanted an Agriculture tax exemption and I needed to plant more grapes to keep up with our growth.
I studied Viticulture, but my real education came from experience (messing up over and over again!) I had great consulting help from Dr. George Ray McEachern and later from Fritz Westover and I must say that all in all I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish.
I had no idea how little control one has over the outcome each year. Late freezes, hail storms, tornados, high winds, no rain for months, and new critters. By the way, wine grapes are not susceptible to COVID -19.
During this period of unease, we at Lost Oak Winery are taking every precaution possible to ensure that our guests and employees stay healthy. The safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us. We want to be completely transparent with all of you about what we are doing to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus or any other illness.
So what are we doing to ensure a safe and clean environment? We already keep the bars and tables clean on a regular basis, but we will be making cleaning supplies even more readily available and ensuring that they are cleaned thoroughly after each guest. Typically, we encourage reusing your wine glasses, but for the time being, we will be switching out wine glasses every time you come up to the bar. We will also be continuing to make sure that the wine pourers do not come into contact with the glasses. For large events, we will be using disposable cups only. We understand that some would prefer a wine glass, but at this time, the safety of our employees and all of you is our biggest concern. Bounce houses and other community objects will be on hold for now. If you would like to bring your own outdoor items (balls, hula hoops, etc.), feel free to do so. Just please make sure all items you bring with you go home with you.
So, what can you do to help us prevent illness? First and foremost, please stay home if you are sick. We understand the disappointment of missing out on something fun due to illness. But the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable is much more important and we ask that you help us by avoiding public places while ill. The next thing you can do to help prevent the spread of any illness is to wash your hands. Studies have found that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly. Take a look at the graphic below for tips on how to wash your hands thoroughly and decrease your risk of illness.
In addition to hand washing, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose if you have not washed your hands thoroughly. If you need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue (and throw it away immediately) or the crook of your elbow. Avoid clost contact with people who are ill and make sure to thoroughly clean all surfaces at work and home.
If at any point we decide to cancel any events here at Lost Oak Winery out of an abundance of caution, we will post about it on our social media pages and send out emails to all of our mailing list. We are keeping a close eye on the local developments and will continue to do so in the coming months. In the meantime, please be rest assured that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe while also keeping things as normal as possible.
Any party is an excuse to drink wine, but what about a party all about wine? Here are some ideas to get your wine party on!
Wine and Cheese go together like…. wine and cheese.
Throw a party to celebrate this match made in heaven. Have all of your guests bring their favorite bottle of wine and block cheese. Your guests can try different combinations to find their perfect pairings. It is a great way to try new things and explore with friends without breaking the bank. As the party winds down, a fun game of “guess who brought what wine and cheese” is always a good way to see how well everyone knows each other.
Group like wines together. For example, put all the dry reds/dry whites/sweet wines together so that certain types of wine are easier for you guest to find. The same can go for the cheese by placing hard cheeses in one groupng and soft cheese in another.
See how well you and your guests know their stuff with a Blind Wine Tasting Party. Have your guests bring a bottle of wine in a non-descript bag. This works best when it is single varietals, so specify no blends. Have the person who brought the wine pour everyone a sample. Let the group talk it over and then everyone tries to guess what the wine is. It’s a fun way to see who in your group knows their wine. Alternatively, you can assign each wine a number and set them out on a table and let your friends try the wine as they mingle. Afterwards you can have a big reveal and see who guessed correctly.
Pro-tip: With any party, the ultimate goal is to have fun. Make sure you wine party is unpretentious and welcoming to all types of wine. Afterall, wine is all about enjoying it with friends.
In 2019, Lost Oak Winery entered a number of our wines into two important competitions, and the results did not disappoint!
The first competition was the 39th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition. Our wines went head-to-head with wines from all over the world!
The Result: Double Gold for the 2017 Cabernet Franc!
Later that year we entered the 20th Annual San Francisco Chronical Competition, the largest wine competition of American wines in the world!
The Result: Double Gold for the 2018 Viognier!
These aren’t the only awards we took home; visit our website LostOakWinery.com for a full list of all the wines that won Gold, Silver, and Bronze at these prestigious wine competitions!
Ty earned his B.A and M.A. in English from Texas Tech, graduating in 2015 Ty began his career as a professor of English but quickly figured out, wine was a better fit! He first worked for Llano Estacado winery gaining experience in teh cellar, lab and vineyard. Now, Ty is learning from a Texas wine pioneer-duo, Jim Evans and Gene Estes. Ty describes his winemaking approach as “traditional with a touch of technology.” His favorite wines to drink are cool climate reds and oak-aged whites.
What are you drinking when you aren't drinking wine?
Iced Tea with lemon in the summer, and spicy hot chocolate in the winter.
When you aren’t at the winery, where are you?
With my dog on hiking trails, or working in the shop on blacksmithing, carpentry, or leather.
What is your favorite food?
Fresh tuna sushi or the burnt ends of a fatty brisket.
Every November, Lost Oak sets out to answer that age-old question; What wine should I pair with Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t worry, our resident wine nerd has you covered. This year we have a knockout box of four wines specially selected to not only go with everything on your Thanksgiving table but to also please everyone sitting at the table.
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 complement everything from turkey to mashed potatoes and everything in between.
But if you have friends or family that are looking for something a little dryer, we have the Montepulciano. Its character is a little more spicy with rich tannins making it the perfect complement 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 are cooking.
Last but not least is our Lat Harvest Roussanne. This dessert wine needs no paring, 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, whether it’s apple, pumpkin, or pecan!
Come into the tasting room to pick up all four wines together in a convenient tote, ready to take to your Thanksgiving table for the discounted price $95.95. Or, if you can’t make it to the tasting room click here to order it online and we’ll ship it to you. To ensure that your wine gets to you by Thanksgiving all orders must be placed by November 20th.
Our very own Angela Chapman - Lost Oak's Wine Eduactaor and Operations Manager - is proudly a WSET level three!
And she's excited for WSET's 50th anniversary and the launch of the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9–15 September 2019.
2019 marks 50 years since the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) was founded to provide wine and spirits education to the industry.
Now the world’s largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications for both professionals and enthusiasts, WSET will be celebrating this landmark anniversary with a full schedule of activity throughout the year looking back, and forward, at the integral role education plays in the wine and spirits trade.
WSET, the largest global provider of wine qualifications, is launching the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9–15 September 2019.
Part of WSET’s 50th anniversary campaign, Wine Education Week aims to engage with the growing population of wine consumers worldwide, encouraging them to learn more about wine.
Wine Education Week will be supported by a global network of brand ambassadors including Olly Smith in the UK; Terry Xu in China; Alyssa Vitrano (grapefriend), Kelly Mitchell (The Wine Siren) and Chelsie Petras (Chel Loves Wine) in the USA. The campaign will kick off on Monday 9th September with food and wine pairing launch events across the world at 6pm local time in 24 countries. Starting with Auckland, New Zealand and ending with California, USA, WSET is aiming for a continuous 24-hour global food and wine tasting session.
Harvest time for Texas vineyards begins in late July and goes through August and sometimes even early September. It is the busiest time of the year: there are vine canopies to manage, grape cluster health to monitor, sugar levels to test, watering schedules to scrutinize over, and then…. there are the critters.
Let’s face it, grapes are delicious, and we are not the only ones who think so. Some of these critters are easier to keep out than others. For example, you may have seen vines with netting on them.
Those nets are very effective at keeping out birds, raccoons, opossums, and even deer.
But what about the smaller critters like moths, caterpillars, leaf hoppers, and the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter?
Sometimes a good defense is a good offence. Creating a vineyard that has a healthy ecosystem that is made up of natural predators like spiders and lizards can keep the number of the pest at bay.
Likewise, a hawk, falcon, or even an owl can be a welcome visitor to the vineyard.
They keep the population of mice, rabbits, prairie dogs, and moles at bay, ensuring that these burrowing pests don’t affect the roots of the vines.
Certain snakes like bull snakes, king snakes, or rat snakes can also be helpful in the same way.
Many vineyards also employ domesticated critters such as cats, sheep, alpacas, and chickens to help maintain the health of their vines. They can clear away unwanted pests as well as unwanted grass and weed growth all the while fertilizing the vines.
As of right now, Lost Oak is not hiring animalia staff to help with the vines. But, who knows, helpful critters are becoming more and more intrinsic to vineyard life.
When I stumbled upon this article it brought a smile to my face, because I share the sentiment wholeheartedly! Wine, beer and spirits… they are about the people you are around and the stories you share while you are enjoying it. Let's face it, it's just not as interesting to go to an artisanal water bar. Cheers Dr. Vinny!
Much like with sports, I don’t understand why people are so fascinated/obsessed with wine, and I can get turned off by fanatics. But I want to be able to celebrate and enjoy wine with others. What am I missing?
—Jake, Lith, Ill.
I think you could ask 100 wine lovers about their fascination and get 100 different explanations. But it’s my job to sit around and think about wine all day, so let me take a stab at this.
I think that wine is essentially about stories. There’s the story of how it tastes, determined by everything from what kind of grapes it’s made from to the conditions of harvest to all the many winemaking decisions that have gone into that bottle. The label can also tell a story, or there’s a story to the wine name, or how the winemaker got into the business. Wine comes from a place, and I think the best wines reflect that. There are also stories of history, art, trends, politics and marketing.
I’ve never seen another beverage be the jumping-off point for so many discussions. And I agree that sports inspires similar fervor, as does art, music and pop culture, among other things.
You may never feel that fascination about wine, and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with simply enjoying it as an occasional beverage. But if you’re a fan of anything—avant-garde jazz or Hitchcock films or video games—be patient with your friends for having their own thing. And sometimes being a friend means listening to each other wax poetic on occasion. Maybe you could even ask them to explain their love of wine to you.
Check out this article! This red wine compound might be the cure for depression and anxiety!
"Resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders."
Resveratrol, a compound that occurs naturally in red wine, has intrigued researchers for decades. A recent study in mice investigates how doctors might be able to use this chemical to reduce depression and anxiety.
Could a red wine compound be useful in the treatment of depression?
In the United States and further afield, anxiety and depression are substantial challenges.
About 1 in 5 adults in the United States have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year.
In addition, an estimated 7.1% of adults experienced a major depressive episode in 2017.
Some people who have anxiety or depression may benefit from medications, but they do not work for everyone.
As the authors of the current study write, "only one-third of individuals with depression or anxiety show full remission in response to these medications."
For this reason, researchers are keen to find new drugs to treat depression and anxiety.
Currently, most of the drugs that doctors prescribe for depression and anxiety interact with serotonin or noradrenaline pathways in the brain.
Researchers are trying to find other possible drug targets, and some have turned to a natural compound called resveratrol.
Resveratrol occurs in the skin of grapes and berries, and, most famously, it is in red wine. Over recent years, it has received an increasing amount of attention from medical scientists.
Earlier studies have shown that resveratrol appears to have antidepressant activity in mice and rats.
The latest study, which appears in the journal Neuropharmacology, takes a closer look at the mechanisms contributing to resveratrol's antidepressant activity. The researchers also question whether resveratrol might provide the basis of future treatments for anxiety and depression.
The team, from Xuzhou Medical University in China, paid particular attention to the role of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).
Why PDE4 and cAMP?
Important in many biological processes, cAMP is a second messenger. These molecules respond to signals outside the cell, such as hormones, and pass the message on to the relevant regions within the cell. The authors of the current study explain:
"Considering that cAMP is a primary regulator for intracellular communication in the brain, it is an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in mental disorders."
Earlier studies have shown that resveratrol increases levels of cAMP in a number of cell types.
PDE4 is a family of enzymes that break down cAMP, helping regulate the levels of this molecule within cells. Higher levels of PDE4 lead to an increased breakdown of cAMP. Some earlier studies have hinted at the role of PDE4 in depression and anxiety.
[How a fruit compound may lower blood pressure]
How a fruit compound may lower blood pressure
A recent study investigates whether resveratrol might help battle hypertension.
For instance, one study showed that inhibiting PDE4 increased cAMP signaling, which reduced anxiety- and depression-like behavior in mice.
The current study used animal models and cultured mouse neurons (similar to those in the human hippocampus) to help explain resveratrol's effect on rodent behaviors.
The stress model of depression
Experts still do not fully understand what causes depression and why it affects some people but not others.
One theory is called the glucocorticoid hypothesis. The body releases glucocorticoids, which include cortisol, when a person feels stressed. In the short term, these hormones help ready the body for an impending crisis.
However, if the stress lasts for a longer time, glucocorticoids can begin to cause harm.
In this way, some scientists believe that chronic stress damages neurons in the hippocampus, which are particularly sensitive. This damage then paves the way for anxiety and depression.
The authors of the current study were particularly interested in understanding whether resveratrol could reverse the damaging effects of stress and how this might work.
In their study, they found that increased levels of corticosterone (the rodent equivalent of cortisol) produced cell lesions in the brain and increased levels of PDE4D — a member of the PDE4 family that scientists believe to be particularly important in cognition and depression.
They also showed that treatment with resveratrol reversed the increase in PDE4D and reduced the number of cell lesions. Resveratrol also prevented the decrease in cAMP.
In engineered mice that could not produce PDE4D, resveratrol boosted cAMP's protective effects even further than in mice with functioning PDE4D.
The authors write that "[t]hese findings provide evidence that the antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of resveratrol are predominantly mediated by PDE4D inhibition."
Only the beginning
These findings provide another small piece of the puzzle. Resveratrol, which appears to reduce anxiety and depression in mice, seems to work by inhibiting PDE4D and activating cAMP signaling.
"Resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders."
Co-lead author Dr. Ying Xu, Ph.D.
Despite Dr. Xu's excitement, there is little evidence of resveratrol's ability to fight depression in humans. Although evidence of its effects in animal models is growing, data from clinical trials are lacking.
Also, extrapolating findings from animal studies to humans can be tricky, never more so than when dealing with mental health conditions. Whether animal models of depression are relevant is a hotly debated topic.
However, any step toward a new understanding of the chemical ins and outs of depression and anxiety is beneficial.
It goes without saying, but drinking red wine will not afford you the theoretical benefits of resveratrol. The compound is present in very low quantities and, of course, the alcohol in wine will negate any benefits.
To conclude, we now know more about the molecular mechanisms underpinning resveratrol's effect on depression and anxiety in mice. We must now await clinical trials to find out whether it can benefit humans too.