What Lost Oak Wants From Its Consulting Winemaker

You can count North Texas’s Lost Oak Winery among those that are partnering with critically acclaimed consulting winemakers. 

The Burleson, Texas-based winery recently announced longtime wine industry professional Jean Hoeflinger would be its consulting winemaker for the upcoming growing season to help enhance estate farming practices and wine quality. He will provide strategic advice for the remainder of the growing season and will be on-site for harvest and vinification in the fall. 

Born and raised in Switzerland, Hoeflinger worked at esteemed wineries in Sonoma, South Africa, Spain, Italy, and around the world before opening Alpha Omega Winery as the Winemaker and General Manager in 2005. He later shifted into a role as a full-time consulting winemaker for clients around the world.

Lost Oak Winery has already won numerous awards for varieties such as the 2018 Best Vintage – Young Wine and hundreds of Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in top wine competitions. Vintner Magazine reached out to Lost Oak Winery President Roxanne Myers for insight about why they decided to consult a winemaker, how they selected Hoeflinger, and what they hope to gain from the relationship.

VINTNER: What inspired you to seek a consulting winemaker, and what led you to Jean?

MYERS: We’re constantly striving to make the absolute best wine possible at Lost Oak Winery. We’ve built an amazing team over the years and always value a well qualified opinion. Jean’s expertise making wine all over the world allows us to have another set of eyes to review our process and procedures from grape growing to winemaking and blending. Because of his diverse range of clients he experiences more regions, challenges, and opportunities than the in-house Lost Oak winemaking team. Leveraging that experience lets us move faster and work smarter to create wines reflective of our growing region. Jean is a well respected winemaker and he wanted to make wine in Texas. Meeting through a mutual contact, we got to chatting and it made a lot of sense for both sides to work together.

VINTNER: What can a consulting winemaker do to improve/enhance the wine that’s being produced, and what are hoping that Jean will do for you?

MYERS: Jean has a very specific way of making wine. He loves extraction and really pushes our team and the grapes to pull out something special. Using techniques he’s perfected in other regions (like the Napa Valley, Italy, and Spain) we’re able to make wines that exude character and really wow our customers. He also blends wines in a way that we’ve never experienced. It’s been really exciting to expand our blending program to put the perfect finishing touches on each wine to really make them stand out.

VINTNER: What will his presence/input look like during the 2023 growing season? What special things does a consulting winemaker bring to the table and how are they involved throughout the process from growing to crush to production?

MYERS: Jean visits Lost Oak four to five times per year, but we also hold many Zoom calls to discuss winemaking protocols, how each vineyard is growing and ripening, and even blend wines together. We balance his input and guidance with Lost Oak’s experience and existing knowledge. That allows us to test and try new ways of making wine without losing what Lost Oak is known for, making amazing, approachable wines that are reflective of where they’re grown. It’s a balancing act but we feel the discussion and details that we’re focusing on ultimately make the best wine possible, and that’s what we’re working so hard to do.

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