Wedding Oak Winery's Cleaning and Sanitizing Steps

a. We diligently follow all guidelines and directives as information becomes available from the CDC and industry experts.

b. All tasting rooms have hand wash sinks on the back bar where we frequently and vigorously wash our hands using an anti-bacterial hand soap.

c. All restrooms have proper hand wash set up and are maintained for use by our guests and associates. The restrooms are inspected frequently to ensure that hand towels and hand soaps are replenished.

d. We regularly clean hard surfaces, such as the bar, backbar, restroom vanities, toilets, tabletops, and food prep tables to eliminate and mitigate the presence of soil and communicable disease.

e. We regularly clean and sanitize door handles/push bars, handrails and other frequent guest contact areas, using broad-spectrum commercial germicides.

f. All glassware is washed and sanitized through a commercial dishwasher, using either 180-degree rinses (Burnet and Fredericksburg) or chemical sanitizing rinses (San Saba). These are the standards required by health departments throughout Texas and the United States.

Impress Your Sweetie with Wine Pairings for Valentine’s Day

8th Feb 2020 @ 12:25 by matt@penandtellus.com


February is the month of love full of possibilities for romantic gestures. Whether you choose to woo your Valentine with chocolates or flowers, we invite you to add another element to impress your sweetie: wine, of course.

The right bottle of wine properly paired with a delicious meal is a sure-fire way to spark passion. Making a romantic dinner for your love at home on Valentine’s Day is a great way to show your affection in a highly personal way. Pick up a bottle for the special night, confident that magic is in store the moment the cork is pulled. Here are two recommendations for home and away that are sure to delight your Valentine.

Wedding Oak Winery Sangiovese 2017

Paired with Duck Cassoulet

Valentine’s Day dinner provides an opportunity for you to break out your culinary skills. If you aren’t exactly Julia Child, try making cassoulet. It’s essentially like making Texas chili, but with different ingredients. Cassoulet is rustic, rich, and heart-warming. This French stew of beans and duck is a classic dish that always tastes better with a glass of red wine. Our Sangiovese has bright, tart red fruit flavors and ample freshness to offset the richness of cassoulet extremely well.

Our 2017 Sangiovese is blended with 23% Montepulciano with grapes harvested from Texas Hill Country and Texas High Plains. It is light-bodied, with a beautiful cherry red color. It will excite your partner with delicious scents and elegant flavors of stewed cherries, red currant, leather, vanilla, and a hint of earthiness. It is a beautifully food-friendly wine that will pair well with the cassoulet and desert.

Wedding Oak Winery Tioja, Texas Hill Country, 2017

Paired with Honey Glazed Roast Pork

Simplicity is sexy. Glazing and roasting a pork loin makes a sumptuous meal without a lot of fuss. The sweetness combined with the juiciness makes for a gratifying dish. Even though pork is a white meat, combining it with a crackling sweet glaze adds to its versatility, and lets it pair incredibly well with red wines. In particular, Spanish-style Garnacha (Grenache) or Tempranillo wines are an excellent match for the crispy caramelized crust with their juicy cherry flavors. The good news is that our Tioja, is made with 75% Tempranillo and 25% Garnacha grapes grown in the Mirasol Vineyards in Lampasas, Texas giving it both earthy and fruity qualities which make it a wonderful accompaniment for roast pork. This wine has the dark ruby color of Valentine hearts and complex aromas and flavors of black cherry, candied plum, tobacco, and baking spice. Our Tioja has bright acidity that allows it to play very well with the fattiness of the pork.

If you prefer to go out for a glass of wine, we have two fun events for you and your sweetie.

Valentine's Day Celebration Dinner

Our annual romantic dinner will be held on Friday, February 14 at our gorgeous Burnet tasting room. Enjoy Texas cuisine provided by the award-winning Longhorn Catering of San Antonio, with each course paired with select Wedding Oak wines. The menu includes charcuterie and antipasti, a mixed greens salad with homemade dressing, lobster bisque, prime aged ribeye with lobster tails and scalloped potatoes, and chocolate mousse with fresh berries for dessert. (Sorry, this dinner is now sold out. Check our website for other fun events)

Mardi Gras Road Trip

Laissez les bon temps rouler! For post-Valentine festivities, join us at our Fredericksburg tasting room February 22, for a Mardi Gras celebration! Your ticket will include a traditional Cajun dish, live jazz music and a glass of wine.

Enjoy your wine pairings for Valentine’s dinner and our festive events. We’re sure that they will impress your Valentine.



Wedding Oak Winery Won 10 Medals at the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

21st Jan 2020 @ 09:01 by matt@penandtellus.com


There are thousands of wine labels available to consumers. The dizzying array of various styles from around the world can make it mind-numbingly difficult to choose a wine. Like our friends at other Texas wineries, we enter wine competitions to have our wines independently evaluated by industry experts. Their seal of approval helps consumers trust that the wines recognized with medals are well-made, delicious wines that meet high standards for excellence.

In the past several months we have been honored to have several of our wines awarded medals at prestigious international wine competitions. While we are incredibly proud of the fantastic work that our winemaker, Seth Urbanek, and our winery team is doing, we are even more pleased by what these awards signal to consumers. You can buy your wines with confidence.

This month Wedding Oak Winery was recognized with 10 medals at the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which is the largest competition of North American wines. The competition is administered by sixty-five judges from a variety of fields, including trade, education, media, retail and hospitality from all over the country. The professional judges evaluated nearly 6,700 wines from more than 1,000 wineries in this year’s competition.

We are particularly thrilled that our Rosato de Sangiovese 2018 received a Double Gold, and both our Tioja 2017 and Montepulciano 2017 won Gold Medals.

Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Rosato de Sangiovese 2018

— Double Gold

Our Italian style rosé wine made Sangiovese grapes picked at the perfect ripeness was our top scoring wine. It is a limited production wine – only 135 cases made – with gorgeous grapes from Anchor Oaks and High Valley Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. These grapes were originally intended for red wine, however the ripeness and chemistry were perfect for rosé. After 48 hours cold soak, the wine was pressed off the skins.

This stellar rosé wine has aromas of grapefruit, boxwood, candied cherry, and dried dill. It is a light body, with plenty of acidity carrying flavors of tart grapefruit. It pairs incredibly well with creamy cheeses, lighter style seafood like grilled snapper and country music on a warm Texas afternoon.

Seth and the team have won more than 30 medals in the past few months in the scored in 2019 Lone Star International, 2019 San Francisco International, 2020 Houston Rodeo, and now the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle wine competitions. This is truly a tribute to consistency across a variety of critical wine judging platforms.

While the results from each competition differs, it is interesting to see that several of our wines consistently score well. Here are a list of recent medals to inform your shopping decisions.

2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Results

Double Gold Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery Rosato de Sangiovese 2018 – Anchor Oaks Vineyard and High Valley Estate
  • Gold Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery Tioja 2017 – Mirasol Vineyards
  • Wedding Oak Winery Montepulciano 2017 – Diamante Doble Vineyards
  • Silver Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery Albariño 2018 – Wildseed Farms Vineyard
  • Wedding Oak Winery Trebbiano 2018 – Paka Vineyards
  • Wedding Oak Winery Roussanne, Texas, 2018
  • Wedding Oak Winery Tempranillo 2017 – Mirasol Vineyards
  • Bronze Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Marsanne - High Valley Estate
  • Wedding Oak Winery Something Borrowed 2017
  • Wedding Oak Winery Texedo Red 2017 – Diamante Doble Vineyard and Philips Vineyard
  • The 2020 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition

    Double Gold Medal

  • Reserve Class Champion, Reserve Texas Class Champion — Wedding Oak Winery Roussanne, Texas, 2018
  • Gold Medal

  • Reserve Class Champion, Texas Class Champion — Wedding Oak Winery Albariño, Texas Hill Country, 2018
  • Reserve Class Champion, Texas Class Champion — Wedding Oak Winery Petit Verdot, Texas High Plains, 2017
  • Class Champion, Texas Class Champion — Wedding Oak Winery Texedo Red, Diamonte Doble Vineyard, Texas High Plains, 2017
  • 2019 San Francisco International Wine Competition Awards

    Gold Medal

  • 91 points, Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Roussanne, Texas, Texas
  • 90 points, Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Texedo Red, Texas High Plains, Texas
  • Silver Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Tioja Mirasol Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas Hill Country, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Paka Family Vineyards Trebbiano, Texas High Plains, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Wildseed Farms Vineyards Albariño, Texas Hill Country, Texas
  • Bronze Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Reserve Mirasol Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas Hill Country, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 High Valley Estate Vineyards Marsanne, Texas Hill Country, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Montepulciano, Texas High Plains, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Sangiovese Rosé, Texas Hill Country, Texas
  • 2019 Lone Star International Wine Competition

    Gold Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery Roussanne, Texas, 2018
  • Bridal Veil 2018
  • Silver Medal

  • Rosato de Sangiovese 2018 – Anchor Oaks Vineyard and High Valley Estate
  • Wedding Oak Winery Petit Verdot, Texas High Plains, 2017
  • Texitalia 2016
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 High Valley Estate Vineyards Marsanne, Texas Hill Country, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Montepulciano, Texas High Plains, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery Albariño, Texas Hill Country, 2018
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Paka Family Vineyards Trebbiano, Texas High Plains, Texas
  • Wedding Oak Winery Reconcilable Differences 2016
  • We hope you will try each of our award-winning wines. Our wines are available online, or at each of our three tasting rooms:

  • Wedding Oak Winery, 229 S. Pierce, Burnet, TX 78611
  • Wedding Oak Winery, 6009B US 290 East Fredericksburg, TX, 78624
  • Wedding Oak Winery, 316 East Wallace Street, San Saba, TX 76877


  • Wedding Oak Winery Won Nine Medals at the 39th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition

    13th Nov 2019 @ 15:49 by matt@penandtellus.com


    There is no doubt that Texas wines are among some of the best wines made in the world. Participating in prestigious, and rigorous wine judging competitions is one way for us to measure our quality compared to other outstanding wines. We are incredibly pleased that our wines continue to impress on the global stage.

    Wedding Oak Winery was recognized with nine medals at the 2019 San Francisco International Wine Competition (SFIWC), one of the world's largest and most influential tasting events of its kind. The judging panel evaluated our wines against thousands of others based on varietal and vintage, and our wines were deemed finely crafted wine, well above average, or well-crafted wines that deserves recognition.

    Winning an award at the San Francisco International Wine Competition is a great seal of approval for our wines. The competition judges more than 4,500 wine entries from more than 30 countries from around the world. A panel of 60 distinguished and discerning judges really put the wine through its paces. Medal winners are chosen through a rigorous judging process held over four days of precise blind tastings ensuring the accuracy and integrity of every score. This year's chief judge was Steven Spurrier, the man behind The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. His role in the "Judgement of Paris" not only elevated California wines, but also helped to expand appreciation and development of wines throughout the New World.

    We are particularly thrilled that two of our wines won Gold Medals.

    Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Roussanne — 91 points

    Our wines made with the Roussanne grape have won awards previously at the SFIWC and other competitions. It is a grape predominantly grown in the Rhône Valley of France, and is well suited to the Texas climate. Our 2018 vintage is made with grapes grown in our estate High Valley Vineyards, as well as Rattlesnake Road and Hye Top vineyards. It is a powerful white wine with shimmering bright gold color, and tropical aromas and flavors of pineapple, coconut, melon, and kiwi. We barrel-aged this full-bodied wine for six months in neutral French oak to enhance the creamy texture and slight nutty flavors. It pairs incredibly well with creamy cheeses and lighter style seafood like grilled snapper.

    Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Texedo Red — 90 points

    This whimsically named wine is part of our Bridal Suite of wines, which were created to elegantly accompany a bride and groom’s most extraordinary day. Texedo Red is made with Dolcetto, a grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, which is also planted in several wine regions in the U.S., including Texas. We harvest our Dolcetto from Diamanté Doble Vineyard located in the Texas High Plains and blend it with a touch of Touriga Nacional for richer color and added tannins. Texedo Red has lovely scents and flavors of cherry, smoked paprika, licorice, pipe tobacco, sweet tea, and red currant with moderate acidity. It is aged 18 months in neutral French oak to retain the fruitiness while rounding it out. Texedo Red is a light, easy drinking, smooth red wine that pairs well with a variety of food including pizza, meatloaf, and cheesy gnocchi.

    2019 San Francisco International Wine Competition Awards

    Gold Medal

  • 91 points, Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Roussanne, Texas, Texas, $27
  • 90 points, Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Texedo Red, Texas High Plains, Texas, $27
  • Silver Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Tioja Mirasol Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas Hill Country, Texas, $29
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Paka Family Vineyards Trebbiano, Texas High Plains, Texas, $28
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Wildseed Farms Vineyards Albariño, Texas Hill Country, Texas, $28
  • Bronze Medal

  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Reserve Mirasol Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas Hill Country, Texas, $36
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 High Valley Estate Vineyards Marsanne, Texas Hill Country, Texas, $29
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2017 Montepulciano, Texas High Plains, Texas, $30
  • Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Sangiovese Rosé, Texas Hill Country, Texas, $26
  • We hope you will try each of our award-winning wines.



    A Holiday Ode to the San Francisco International Wine Competition

    10th Dec 2018 @ 15:57 by matt@penandtellus.com


    In honor of Christmas

    And other holidays, too,

    We would like to share

    A few results with you.

    Our wines have been scored

    Their points totaled with care

    And no less than four winners

    Were declared!

    First, ‘16 Tempranillo

    A bronze medal winner.

    A rich, viscous red

    Ideal with steak dinner.

    Then, one more bronze,

    Another red blend.

    We call it ‘16 Tioja

    It’s finish won’t end!

    Next came the silver

    This time, a white!

    Our ‘17 Roussanne

    Is sure to delight.

    Finally, gold

    For our Texedo Red,

    A blend based on Dolcetto

    Buy some, go ahead!

    We thank San Francisco

    And its wine competition

    For honoring us

    With this great recognition.

    We have enclosed

    A link below

    To purchase a bottle

    Or three, who knows?

    So whether its Roussanne

    Or our Tioja, too,

    We want to bring

    Some holiday magic to you.

    Happy Holidays from the Wedding Oak Family!

    Buy your Christmas gifts at Wedding Oak Winery: https://weddingoakwinery.com/shop.



    Award Winning Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner

    14th Nov 2018 @ 14:40 by matt@penandtellus.com


    Since the Pilgrims first celebrated the harvest festival in 1621, Americans have wrestled with the annual conundrum of finding the perfect wine pairing for Thanksgiving dinner. This year when you gather with family and friends to express your gratitude, we have recommendations for award winning bottles of delicious wine.

    A traditional Thanksgiving menu can be complex, which makes it necessary to select versatile wines. Turkey is the easy part when it comes to wine pairing. White wines and lighter style reds are great with white meat, and dark meat can stand up to bold reds. The tough part can be pairing wine with a wide array of spicy, sweet, and savory sides like cranberries, potatoes, gravy, veggies, stuffing and all the Thanksgiving trimmings.

    It’s always a smart strategy to select both excellent white and red wines to pair with different dishes and to please a plentitude of palates for Thanksgiving dinner. White wines with well-balanced acidity are the right choice to accompany a broad selection of Thanksgiving dishes. Wines like Viognier and Albariño will work nicely. Red wines with fruity flavors or soft tannins will accompany a wide variety of holiday dishes without overpowering lighter turkey flavors. Wines like Tempranillo and Montepulciano are food friendly and wonderful with a with a large selection of dishes.

    As a rule of thumb, plan to have one bottle of each wine for every two people at your dinner. If you are going to someone else’s house for dinner, make sure to bring a bottle or two to supplement the host’s supply.

    Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition announced its 2019 award winners. Wedding Oak Winery was recognized with seven medals. Any of these wines would be fantastic on your holiday table, but in particular here are a couple of my recommendations for your feast.

    Wedding Oak Winery Viognier, Texas Hill Country, 2017

    White wines tend to be food friendly with bright acidity that brings various flavors of food to life rather than overpowering it. Viognier, a grape variety that is native to the Rhône Valley, makes rich white wines with distinctive aromas of apricot, peaches, and spice. Our leaner Viognier has floral and citrus aromas, along with a liveliness on the palate that compliments characters of honeyed melon, apple, and pear flavors in a lingering Meyer lemon finish. This wine is made from estate-grown grapes from High Valley Vineyard near our winery in San Saba. The vibrant wine is a lovely accompaniment to Thanksgiving delights.

    Wedding Oak Winery Tioja, Texas Hill Country, 2016

    Our flagship wine, Tioja, is made with 70% Tempranillo and 30% Grenache grapes grown in the Texas Hill Country. Tempranillo brings both earthy and fruity qualities that are delicious with Thanksgiving dinner. This wine has a dark ruby color and complex aromas of black cherry, cola, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and plum. Our Tioja has tart red cherry, plum, and berry flavors, along with white pepper spices and herbs and a core of bright, food-loving acid. That acidity in Tempranillo allows it to play very well with Thanksgiving fare. Even though the wine is “big,” its tannins are elegant, allowing it to play well with Turkey and all of its friends.

    We’ve Made Ordering Wine for Thanksgiving Easy

    To help make holiday planning easier for you, we’ve prepared a Thanksgiving and Holiday Special with these two wines for only $50 with discounted shipping. Get yours today: https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/holiday-special.

    We realize you may want more than just these two award winning wines. Here are all of our 2019 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition Award Winners:

    Wedding Oak Winery Tioja, Texas Hill Country, 2016 — Silver

    Wedding Oak Winery Montepulciano, Texas High Plains, 2016 — Silver

    Wedding Oak Winery Reconcilable Differences Red, Texas, 2016 — Silver

    Wedding Oak Winery Albariño, Texas, 2017 Albariño — Bronze

    Wedding Oak Winery Rosé de Dolcetto, Texas High Plains, 2017 — Bronze

    Wedding Oak Winery Tempranillo, Texas Hill Country, 2016 — Bronze

    Wedding Oak Winery Viognier, Texas Hill Country, 2017 — Bronze

    Enjoy!



    Learn to Taste Like a Pro: Red Wine Edition

    26th Oct 2018 @ 18:00 by matt@penandtellus.com


    By Seth Urbanek, assistant winemaker, Wedding Oak Winery

    In honor of Texas Wine Month, which happens each October, here is a behind the scenes look at an important part of the winemaking process. To ensure we make the best wine possible, we meticulously evaluate the wine throughout the winemaking process by critically tasting it with specific techniques. The core of our tasting is how a wine professional in a restaurant tastes wine. We just use the information differently.

    Sommeliers have many different techniques they use to analyze wine, from identifying flavors to making notes about the structure. Surprisingly, it’s not as difficult as one may think. If your taste buds are fully functional and you taste enough wine, you too can learn to taste like a pro.

    Admittedly, breaking down a wine is inherently unnatural and requires practice to master. We are conditioned to taste food or drink as a whole, taking in its texture and flavors as a combination of sensations. Conversely, during a wine tasting, we evaluate each element separately, taking multiple sips and recording our observations.

    You can taste a red wine just like a professional by carefully evaluating the following components are all found in red wine:

    Acid Acidity in a wine manifests itself as a tartness or sourness, and often makes your mouth water. Think of it in its extreme as the sensation of biting into a lemon. It can range from low to high in intensity in a wine. Acid may sound like an unpleasant element, but is imperative to create a long-lasting, quality wine since it is a natural preservative.

    Tannin Tannin is a compound that is only found in wines made with grape skin in contact with the juice during fermentation (99% of these are reds). It causes a rough, sandpaper-like feeling on your tongue and gums. It will often dry out your mouth and can counteract acidity in a wine to create a feeling of balance. Wines are not the only beverages that have tannin; coffee and black tea also contain this compound (thus, it is not the culprit of your wine headaches, contrary to popular belief).

    Body A wine’s body is essentially an overall “weight” or mouthfeel. To analyze body, you can take a sip of wine, hold it on your tongue, and equate it to the weight of milk. A light body will feel like skim milk, while a medium body will have the weight of 2% and a heavy body will feel like cream on your palate. Because alcohol is heavier than water, it contributes greatly to the body of a wine, and full-bodied wines are often the ones that contain the highest amount of alcohol. Often, people believe that a heavier body is indicative of quality. This is actually not the case!

    Flavor Flavor is the main element that one thinks of when analyzing wine. Flavors in red wines can range from red fruits (cherry, strawberry, and raspberry) to dark fruits (blackberry, plum) to earthiness (wet stone, mulch, potting soil), along with floral elements, like red rose or violet. In an aging wine, we can taste flavors like tobacco, leather, cedar bark, dried fruits, and wet leaves. As most reds are aged in oak barrels, we can also taste for oak-related notes, like baking spices (cinnamon, clove, and vanilla), toast, and smoke. The best way to truly practice identifying various flavor is by using a flavor wheel for helpful descriptions. One our favorite is the one created by Wine Folly: https://shop.winefolly.com/collections/tasting-tools/products/wine-flavors-chart.

    Finish The finish of a wine describes how long the wine’s flavors (not the acidity or tannin) linger on your palate. If the flavors stay for longer than 20 seconds, it has a long finish. If they remain for 10-20 seconds, it has a medium finish, and anything less than 10 seconds is typically a short finish. A lengthy finish is desirable since it indicates quality and careful winemaking.

    So, are you ready to taste? Let’s practice tasting by evaluating our 2015 Sangiovese.

    Acid: Our Sangiovese has a medium acid. It has a lively brightness, but not overwhelmingly tart. You can use this acidity level as a benchmark when you taste other wines!

    Tannin: The tannin is medium, perfectly balancing out the moderate acidity. Our Sangiovese has a firm structure without overpoweringly drying out the mouth. This wine actually contains 14% Tannat (a more tannic grape) added to give this wine more structure.

    Body: The body is medium, which comes from the moderate level of alcohol.

    Flavor: This wine is bursting with vibrant aromas of red cherries and violets, as well as ripe strawberry and cherry with a hint of black tea and cedar. The red fruit flavors are characteristic of the Sangiovese grape and reminiscent of wines from Tuscany.

    Finish: This wine has a lovely, long finish, with the red fruits lingering long after you’ve taken your last sip.

    Using this guide, we hope that you are inspired to purchase a bottle of Wedding Oak wine and start practicing tasting like a pro at home or with your friends. You can buy it here: https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/sangiovese-2015. If you get stuck, don’t become discouraged, as it is merely an excuse to pop open another bottle and try again. With enough practice, we promise that you’ll be tasting like a pro!



    From the Vineyard: The Impact of Scorching Heat on the 2018 Harvest

    10th Aug 2018 @ 13:20 by matt@penandtellus.com


    September 2018

    By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery

    It’s hot enough to fry an egg on the bed of a pickup truck. We’ve had another summer of record heat in Texas. What does this heat mean for our 2018 harvest at Wedding Oak Winery?

    This year has certainly not been an ordinary vintage in the Texas Hill Country. We started our year with record low single digit temperatures for extended periods that had us worried about winter hardiness, and now the excessively high temperatures combined with drought conditions are creating challenges in the vineyard and cellar. Excessive heat is not in itself a bad thing in regions like Texas, Paso Robles and other regions where it is the normal. However, heat can cause a stop in photosynthesis, sunburn on the grapes, and when combined with drought conditions fruit shrivel is inevitable. That’s what we are facing.

    Vineyard sites, like our Estate High Valley Vineyard, that are perched high atop the limestone hills are protected from late spring frost damage. Yet, these same sites have shallow soils which make them more susceptible to drought issues, especially when combined with scorching heat. The 30+ days of 100+ degree temperatures and drought conditions have certainly shriveled the grapes which reduces yields.

    Heat and low humidity contribute to excessively high evapotranspiration rates. We combat that with aggressive irrigation practices. We also implement a thoughtful strategy to keep the leaf canopy functioning and the crop hydrated until the fruit achieves true physiological ripeness. That’s not always an easy thing to do. Most grape varieties in the vineyards we contract have experienced heat stress resulting in smaller berry sizes and berry shrivel.

    Photosynthesis slows or can even cease in the high temperatures we are experiencing this year. The degree of the impact for each grape varietal is dependent on the phenological stage of development the grapes were in when the intense heat disrupted photosynthesis. Roussanne and Mourvèdre, both late varieties for us, struggled due to the skins not being ripe before the heat set in. Good early season canopy management practices limited sunburn damage in our managed vineyards. However, growers with younger blocks, less leaf canopy and more exposed fruit have been impacted. Tempranillo, Syrah and Albariño with more shaded canopies performed better than more open canopy varieties like Viognier and Mourvèdre.

    There is also good news. We have excellent grape quality in 2018.

    While grape growers are frustrated with the reduced yields this year from the need to hold fruit until fruit is truly ripe, our winemaking team is happy with the more concentrated flavors and aromas which will define the 2018 vintage in the years to come. In our Estate Vineyard the Syrah Block shrivel is an inherent annual characteristic that develops a concentrated sugar and desirable deep brooding fruit quality to the fruit and finished wines.

    We have completed the harvest of our Hill Country white grape varieties. Our Albariño from our Wildseed Farms Vineyard, harvested very early this year on July 23, was very high quality and is looking beautiful in the cellar. We finished the white grape harvest by hand picking the Roussanne at our Estate High Valley Vineyard earlier this week. Despite the heat we were able to hold the crop with the protected canopy until ripe. It is a beautiful crop with intense aromatics.

    The red grape varieties from our Estate Syrah and Grenache came into the cellar with exceptional quality; high brix and good varietal character. Our first crop of Tempranillo at Wildseed Farms Vineyard was harvested this week with high yields and good chemistry. It is looking nice in the cellar. Another standout for us this year is Negro Amaro from Hye Top Vineyard, that reached its true ripeness, holding its acid until harvest, producing a rich, rustic and highly tannic wine. We’re awaiting harvest of Aglianico and Carignane in the next several weeks.

    The 2018 vintage in the Texas Hill Country is light in yield, meaning less wine in the 2018 vintage. The good news is the wines will have highly concentrated flavors. Most importantly, grape varietal response to the heat and drought will help our region better define varieties best suited to our unique growing conditions in the Texas Hill Country. It has been a great growing season.



    From the Vineyard: Spring Growth is a Crystal Ball to the Fall Harvest

    19th Apr 2018 @ 08:37 by matt@penandtellus.com


    By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery

    If I had a crystal ball, I’d use it to check the weather every day. Instead, like all grape growers in Texas during later winter and early spring, I obsessively check the weather forecasts from all the usual, and less certain, sources.

    Even though I don’t have a crystal ball to show me what Mother Nature has instore, the effects of the weather on the grapevines during the winter and spring give us a little bit of a glimpse into what we can expect from the vineyards at harvest.

    For the 2018 vintage, my assessment is so far, so good.

    Fortunately, winter in the Hill Country brought us little heartbreak this year. Temperatures remained consistently chilly, rather than swinging from one extreme to another. This allowed the grapes to stay dormant until a normal bud break schedule. Our Viognier was first to emerge from dormancy, while the Mourvèdre peeked out last, true to form. Despite the relatively calm winter, a few of our weaker vines experienced cordon (aka permanent wood) loss because temperatures plummeted to the single digits for a few days. However, we had little total vine loss this season.

    The advent of spring brings its own unique stresses in the vineyard. As the weather warms to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit consistently, the vines emerge from slumber and use carbohydrate stores to synthesize new shoots laden with potential fruit clusters. A sudden cold snap can kill these shoots — even the whole vine — causing massive fruit loss. What’s more, Texan storms, usually accompanied by strong winds, can result in shoot breakage and irregular cluster pollination. While a little rain is welcome, particularly because we need to irrigate to replace depleted moisture levels soil levels, too much water causes grape growth to get out of hand. That is something we don’t want.

    The period after bud break is referred to as the "Grand Period of Growth," a time when many factors come together to determine size of clusters, fruit quality, and wine quality potential. It may seem counterintuitive, however limiting excessive shoot and leaf growth is necessary during the growing season. Pruning shoots and leaves allows the sugars created by the plant to localize mostly in the fruit. It also helps the plant to focus on ripening the berries rather than diverting energy to overall growth. Riper grapes=more sugars=more alcohol, which helps enhances the expression of desirable flavor and aroma compounds. Picking at the right acidity and sugar levels helps us build an exquisite flavor profile. A win for a winemaker.

    Some grape varieties, like our Viognier, are naturally predisposed to produce too many buds, and thereby more fruit than the variety can fully ripen. Consequently, we must work harder to remove excessive shoots to achieve a highly-coveted, perfect “fruit-to-leaf ratio” that will ultimately result in superior grape quality.

    While surveying newer vineyards planted in 2016, I happily sense the potential for fairly high yields and wine quality. With these vines, there is sufficient light penetration into the vine canopy to ripen this first crop to perfection. In their youth, we place specific importance in training these new vines, promoting the formation of trunks, cordons and spurs so that they can withstand Texas weather conditions.

    In the older vineyards, we are removing unwanted shoots and spacing them to encourage sufficient airflow, which helps prevent fungal infections. Two rainy years have resulted in more insect vectors of Pierce's Disease, a devastating sharpshooter-spread disease that is prominent in the southern U.S.

    In addition to managing our existing vineyards, we're also working with growers to plant additional acreage.

    We plan up to two years in advance for this planting time, ordering vines, preparing the site and carefully planting the vines before the arrival of our Texas heat. At Wildseed Farms, we are planting another 8 acres of Vermentino, Montepulciano, and Aglianico, all central/southern Italian grape varieties adept at withstanding Texas heat. At Fire Oak Vineyard, we are planting 8 acres of Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Grenache, and Sangiovese; most of these are native Rhone varieties except for the latter, an indigenous Tuscan grape.

    So far in this growing season, the conditions in our vineyards is right where we want it to be. My prognosis is that we will have a great crop at harvest. We are excited about the potential of the 2018 vintage and can’t wait to bring you more great Texas wine.



    Wedding Oak Winery Recognized for Outstanding Wine at TEXSOM International Wine Awards

    13th Mar 2018 @ 17:30 by matt@penandtellus.com


    Wedding Oak Winery won four medals at the 2018 TEXSOM International Wine Awards (IWA) which took place on February 12-14, 2018 at the Grapevine Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas. Wedding Oak Winery received two silver medals for its 2016 Marsanne and 2015 Tempranillo Reserva, as we as Bronze medals for it 2015 Tioja and Sangiovese 2015. All Wedding Oak wines submitted to the competition are made using 100 percent Texas grown grapes.

    In its first bottling, the single vineyard, single variety 2016 Marsanne is gaining high praise. In addition to this Silver Medal at TEXSOM IWA, the Rhone-style wine, made with grapes grown in the estate High Valley Vineyard in San Saba County, was recently recognized with a Double Gold, Class Champion and Texas Class Champion at the 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition. It also won awards at the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition and the 2017 Lone Star International Wine Competition earlier this year. The versatile and food-friendly Marsanne has lively Meyer lemon and roasted almonds flavors, rich, mineral texture and creamy vanilla finish.

    The Wedding Oak Winery 2015 Tempranillo Reserva is made with grapes were grown at Mirasol Vineyard in Lampasas County, managed by viticulturist and winemaker Penny Adams. It is a Rioja style wine, made with a blend of 81 percent Tempranillo, 18 percent Garnacha, and a touch of Viognier, that is barrel aged in neutral French oak for 14 months. A rich and aromatic wine, the Tempranillo Reserva has full cherry, cedar and tobacco box, scents, tart black cherry flavors, vibrant acidity, soft tannins and a lingering finish. This wine pairs incredibly well with Texas BBQ.

    “TEXSOM IWA has emerged as one of the most influential wine competitions in the world,” says Penny Adams, winemaker. “Any medal received at TEXSOM IWA is a high accomplishment. We’re incredibly honored to have our wines recognized among some of the best wine made in the world. This is a resounding confirmation that wine made in Texas is made with the utmost quality.”

    The TEXSOM International Wine Awards is the preeminent wine competition in the United States. The Journal of Wine Economics recently recognized TEXSOM IWA as the most selective wine competition in the U.S. and praised it for the competition’s ability to differentiate quality. The recognition was based on the high level of its judges, their broad experience and global perspective, which leads to a more selective, and more meaningful, medal distribution. The 2018 TEXSOM IWA evaluated more than 3,600 entries in a blind tasting conducted by a panel of 64 judges that included industry leaders, Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine judges.

    Our 2018 TEXSOM International Wine Award Winning Wines

  • Wedding Oak Winery Marsanne 2016, High Valley Estate Vineyards, Texas Hill Country — Silver
  • Wedding Oak Winery, Tempranillo Reserva 2015, Mirasol Vineyards, Texas Hill Country — Silver
  • Wedding Oak Winery, Tioja 2015, Mirasol Vineyards, Texas Hill Country — Bronze
  • Wedding Oak Winery, Sangiovese 2015, Texas Hill Country — Bronze

    Wedding Oak Winery Hires Seth Urbanek as Assistant Winemaker

    10th Jan 2018 @ 09:21 by matt@penandtellus.com


    We have hired Seth Urbanek as assistant winemaker. Seth, a Texas native, is responsible for cellar management and assisting with all aspects of production working with head winemaker and viticulturist, Penny Adams, and her winemaking team.

    Seth brings extensive research skills and winemaking talent to Wedding Oak Winery. He has experience in making both new world and old world wines, with stints at Sheldrake Point Winery, Ovid, NY, MollyDooker Winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia, and Champagne Bollinger, Aÿ, France.

    “I was bitten by the wine bug at an early age,” says Seth Seth. “After I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in International Relations, I spent a semester in France. While there, I fell in love with wine and knew I wanted to work in the wine industry. I temporarily put my winemaking aspirations on hold while serving a term in the U.S. Army.”

    Seth was commissioned as second lieutenant, serving two tours in Afghanistan, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in recognition of his service contributions to the U.S. Army. He concluded his service as a Captain at Fort Drum, NY.

    During his time at Fort Drum, he began to engage with several of the up and coming producers in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. After his tenure in the service, he was able to parlay those relationships into a job as part of the vineyard management team at Sheldrake Point Winery.

    That experience led to a thirst for deeper understanding of the science behind wine. Seth pursued a Master of Science degree in Food Science and Technology, with concentration in Enology, at Cornell University. In that program he conducted research that explores advances in yeast metabolism during fermentation.

    He pursued additional hands-on winemaking experience by taking a semester off from Cornell to work at MollyDooker Winery in South Australia as a laboratory technician and cellar hand. Most recently, Seth worked a three-month internship through the champagne harvest at Champagne Bollinger in France. A perk to the job was to take advantage of this expert palate to evaluate wines from a portion of the 3,500 barrels that make up the 2017 vintage.

    “As the winery continues to grow and mature, we have made important hires to strengthen our team in essential areas of the business,” says Mike McHenry, managing partner. “Hiring Seth to support Penny is part of our strategic plan to continue to produce high-quality wines with Texas grown grapes. We look forward to integrating his talents into the team.”

    Seth says, “I had not considered my home state of Texas as part of my winemaking career, but I was amazed at the quality of Texas wines when I was exposed to them at an industry conference. After a short conversation with Penny Adams, the winemaker at Wedding Oak Winery, I knew that we would be able to work together to produce quality wines from Texas fruit. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with Wedding Oak Winery to make stellar wines here in the Lone Star State.”

    “We’re thrilled to have Seth on the Wedding Oak winemaking team,” says Penny Adams. “We both see winemaking as a two-fold approach of art and science. Seth’s scientific background is a great complement to my own academically influenced style.”

    Seth is a Houston native, a graduate of St. Thomas Episcopal High School and Texas A&M University. He holds a certified proficiency in French language from Centre Universitaire d’Etudes Francaises, Grenoble, France, and a Master of Science degree in Enology at Cornell University.



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