Wedding Oak Winery Announces Staff Promotions and New Hires   

Wedding Oak Winery, a premier winery in the Texas Hill Country, promoted three valued team members, and hired an operations manager. The winery, named for the centuries old Wedding Oak Tree in San Saba, Texas, is set to expand its operations in 2019.

“As we approach our seventh anniversary, Wedding Oak Winery is growing and maturing,” says Mike McHenry, managing partner, Wedding Oak Winery. “We are opening two new hospitality centers and tasting rooms in Fredericksburg and Burnet, Texas in spring 2019. With this growth comes the necessary advancement and evolution of our staff. We’re fortunate to have wine industry experts on the staff to grow the team from within, and at the same time add top-quality talent to our team.”

Penny Adams

Penny Adams

Penny Adams is promoted to Viticulturist, Director of Vineyard Operations. Adams joined Wedding Oak Winery in early 2012 and has led the winemaking team as well as served as viticulturist. She is widely recognized as a vineyard management expert in the wine industry with experience in all aspects of viticulture – from site and varietal selection through proper pruning techniques, controlled irrigation, canopy management and careful harvesting.  She completed her B.S. in Horticulture from Texas A&M and earned her M.S in Agriculture-Plant Science with a specialty in Viticulture from California State University-Fresno. In her new role, Adams will manage all Wedding Oak Winery estate vineyards, as well as vineyards under contract, and will continue to serve as vineyard consultant.

Seth Urbanek

Seth Urbanek

Seth Urbanek is promoted to Winemaker. Urbanek joined Wedding Oak Winery as assistant winemaker in 2017. He was responsible for cellar management and assisting with all aspects of production as part of the winemaking team. He has implemented extensive an extensive research and scientific approach to winemaking at Wedding Oak Winery and has played a significant role in helping to shape the new portfolio of wines. As winemaker, Urbanek will continue to focus on making vineyard specific wines with Texas-grown grapes, as well as the Italian and Spanish style blends that Wedding Oak is known for. Before joining Wedding Oak Winery, he worked in the wine industry at Sheldrake Point Winery, Ovid, NY, MollyDooker Winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia, and Champagne Bollinger, Aÿ, France. Urbanek is a graduate of Texas A&M University, 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.

Dyana Pemberton is promoted to Wine Club Manager and Events Coordinator. Pemberton joined Wedding Oak Winery in 2016. She was tasked to lead numerous aspects of winery operations including tasting room management, events and wine club management. She has been a central part of the successful growth of Wedding Oak’s wine clubs with keen attention to customer service, event management, and club development. She previously worked as Wine Club Manager at another Texas hill country Winery. Her experience in her current role makes her a natural fit to take on her new responsibilities.

Doug Winter joins Wedding Oak Winery as Operations Manager. Winter, a skilled entrepreneur and manager of multi-unit operations in Idaho and Utah, joins Wedding Oak Winery to oversee operations of its tasting room and hospitality facilities in San Saba, and soon to open locations in Fredericksburg, and Burnet, Texas. He brings extensive experience in food and beverage management, and team leadership. Winter and his family are based in San Saba, Texas.

About Wedding Oak Winery

Wedding Oak Winery was established in June 2012 by viticulturist Mike McHenry and a group of friends with the passion to bring the burgeoning Texas wine industry to the heart of small-town Texas. The historic 1926 tasting room and 10,000 case winery, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 190 and State Highway 16, is a central part of the renaissance of San Saba. Wedding Oak Winery takes its inspiration and name from the majestic, 400-year-old oak tree, known as the Wedding Oak Tree, which grows about 2.5 miles northwest from the winery. With new facilities scheduled to open in Fredericksburg and Burnet, Wedding Oak Winery offers 100% Texas-grown wines of distinction from the top of the Hill Country appellation in San Saba to the heart of Wine Road 290. Wedding Oak Winery embodies the casual beauty, friendly personalities and relaxing hospitality that defines small town Texas, continuing the commitment to making Texas wines that celebrate our Texas terroir and wine-growing conditions. Connect with Wedding Oak Winery on the winery Blog,FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Award Winning Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving from Wedding Oak Winery

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:

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


Wedding Oak Winery to Open New Tasting Room in Burnet, Texas  

Wedding Oak Winery has entered a multi-year agreement with the Burnet Economic Development Corp. to lease the Badger Building and adjacent property on the Burnet County Courthouse Square. Wedding Oak Winery will operate a tasting room and winery production facility at 229 S. Pierce in the historic building, originally constructed in 1888. The new facility is scheduled to be open for guests by April, 2019.

“This is a great development for our winery, and for people who enjoy wine made with 100 percent Texas-grown grapes,” says Mike McHenry, managing partner, Wedding Oak Winery. “The new facility makes it easier for people to visit us, relish the experience, and purchase wine. The Burnet location is the third retail wine operation for Wedding Oak Winery, after our primary winery in downtown San Saba, and tasting room at Wildseed Farms Fredericksburg, all within the Texas Hill Country appellation. The partnership with Burnet EDC reinforces our determination to play a significant role in the ongoing economic growth of the Texas towns we all cherish.”

The Badger Building, which is undergoing significant renovations, is approximately 5,400 square feet with additional space in adjacent buildings for a total of 8,000 square feet to be occupied by the winery. The project will retain the historic charm of the building to exude a similar appeal as the winery’s primary location in San Saba.

In addition to the tasting room and production facility, the gracious facility will feature a large ground-level patio, shaded open-air roof top terrace, expanded event space and wine club members area. The new Wedding Oak Winery facility is conveniently located within two blocks of the heavily-travelled intersection of US 281 and Texas 29.

About Wedding Oak Winery

Wedding Oak Winery was established in May 2012 by viticulturist Mike McHenry and a group of friends with the passion to bring the burgeoning Texas wine industry to the heart of small town Texas. The historic 1926 tasting room and 10,000 case winery, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 190 and State Highway 16, is a central part of the renaissance of San Saba. Wedding Oak Winery takes its inspiration and name from the majestic, 400-year-old oak tree, known as the Wedding Oak Tree, which grows about 2.5 miles northwest from the winery. With the its location at Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg in 2016, and with the pending opening of the Burnet facility, Wedding Oak Winery offers Texas-grown wines of distinction from the top of the Hill Country appellation in San Saba to the heart of Wine Road 290. Wedding Oak Winery embodies the casual beauty, friendly personalities and relaxing hospitality that defines small town Texas, continuing the commitment to making Texas wines that celebrate our Texas terroir and wine-growing conditions. Connect with Wedding Oak Winery on the winery BlogFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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

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

Penny Adams in Wedding Oak Winery Vineyard

Penny Adams in Wedding Oak Winery Vineyard

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.

Grapevines in Wedding Oak Winery Vineyard spring 2018

Grapevines in Wedding Oak Winery Vineyard spring 2018

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 (thus 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 Won Six Medals at the 37th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition


Wedding Oak Winery is happy to share the news that it has been awarded six medals at the 37th Annual San Francisco Wine Competition.  As published on August 8, 2017 by Matt McGinnis, Founder and President of Pen & Tell Us.  

Our wines continue to impress on the global stage, with six medals won at the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition. 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 any award is a thrill, and a great indication to our customers that Wedding Oak Winery produces world-class wines. However, we are particularly thrilled to be recognized at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. It is easily one of the most prestigious, and the largest international wine competitions in the United States. More than 4,300 wines from more than 30 countries around the world were evaluated by a panel of 58 judges at the 37th San Francisco International Wine Competition. These 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.

We are particularly thrilled that our three single-variety, Texas-grown Rhone style white wines each won a silver medal: our Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne.

One of our flagship wines, the 2016 High Valley Estate Viognier is made with estate-grown grapes grown high atop a hill in in San Saba county where they reach optimum ripeness. They are hand harvested in early morning, arriving at the winery early and cool where they are whole-berry pressed. The juice goes through a long, slow fermentation resulting in an elegant, lean-style wine with white flower, tropical fruit and stone fruit aromas. This wine has lovely honeyed melon, apple, nectarine and pear flavors with a crisp Meyer lemon lingering finish. It’s an incredibly food-friendly wine that goes really well with roasted chicken, and grilled vegetables.

We love working with the Roussanne grape, and our 2016 harvest was stellar. It was so good, that we made our first single variety Roussanne 2016  with grapes harvested from the Narra Vineyard in the Texas High Plains. This wine has a beautiful golden straw color, powerful scents of fresh flowers, peaches, spice tea, roasted nuts and pepper. The sumptuous wine has a velvety mouthfeel with honeyed pear and white apple flavors with lively acidity that let it pair incredibly well with seafood, grilled pork, and dishes with savory sauces. This wine recently won a gold medal at the prestigious 34th annual Lone Star International Wine Competition.

Another Rhone variety that we made in a single vineyard, single variety wine is Marsanne, which is grown atop a mesa overlooking Cherokee Creek with deep limestone and clay soils in our estate High Valley Vineyard in San Saba County. Our first bottling, the 2016 Marsanne, is as pleasingly bright with a rich, mineral texture that will become more complex with time. It’s generous with spicy aromatics, and packed with zesty Meyer lemon and roasted almonds flavors, with a creamy vanilla finish. It’s a great wine to serve with rich seafood dishes, and grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

We hope you will try all of our award winning wines.

2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition Awards

v  Wedding Oak Winery Marsanne Estate Texas Hill Country $29 — Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery 2016 Viognier Estate Texas Hill Country $28 — Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery 2016 Roussanne Texas High Plains $28— Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery 2015 Sangiovese Texas Hill Country $29 — Bronze

v  Wedding Oak Winery 2015 Red Blend Tioja Texas Hill Country $29 — Bronze

v  Wedding Oak Winery 2016 Dolcetto Rosé Texas High Plains $24 — Bronze

The Similarities Between Successful Marriages and Delicious Wine

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

Wedding Oak Winery Rhone Style Whites.

Wedding Oak Winery Rhone Style Whites.

June is traditionally the most popular month to get married. As the winemaker at a winery named for the 400-year-old Wedding Oak Tree where people have gathered for countless weddings over the centuries, this month caused me to reflect on the nature of marital unions. The most successful marriages bring out the best characteristics of both people as individuals, while also establishing a completely new couple’s persona that is only possible through the blending of those two people’s finest traits.

The same is true with wine. (Yes, it is true that as a winemaker almost everything makes me think of a corollary in the wine world, but stick with me. . . wine and marriage do have similarities.) There are many excellent wines that are made with a singular grape variety. Think of Oregon Pinot Noir. And there are sundry stellar wines that are always made as blends. Think of Bordeaux wines made with a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other varieties.

I’ve typically approached winemaking with an old-world approach, taking inspiration from classic wines like Spanish Rioja-styles. I blend complimentary grapes to make wines that are stylistically similar to how they are made in other areas of the world.

For instance, I make our Terre Blanc with the same grape blends as you’ll find in Rhône white wines — Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. This is a wonderful marriage of the elegant qualities of all three grapes. As the dominant partner, Marsanne, gives the blend its rich color, opulent pear aromas, and silky body. Roussanne contributes finesse to the blend with more depth, more richness, and intense aromatics. Viognier brings full-bodied peach, tangerine and honeysuckle scents and flavors to the union. The result of the marriage is a wine with complex herbal, nutty, and stone-fruit characters that aren’t fully present in any of the three individual wines.

While I’ve always made some single variety wines, like our award winning Viognier, this vintage we had such stellar quantities and quality of grapes, I decided to make single variety Roussanne and Marsanne wines too. Now you have the opportunity to taste all three wines on their own, and as a wedded wine.

Roussanne 2016

The Roussanne grape can be persnickety and difficult to grow in great quantities, but the 2016 harvest from the Narra Vineyard in the Texas High Plains was exceptional. The grapes produced a wine with a beautiful golden straw color, powerful scents of fresh flowers, peaches, spice tea, roasted cashews and black pepper. This opulent wine has layers of honey and pear flavors. It’s lively acidity and a beautiful lingering finish make it a great accompaniment to Texas shellfish, grilled pork tenderloin, veal, and spicy Asian dishes. Our 2016 Roussanne won a gold medal at the prestigious 34th annual Lone Star International Wine Competition.

2016 Marsanne

This wine is as bright as a sunny summer day in Texas. The grapes are gown on a steep hillside with deep limestone and clay soils in our estate High Valley Vineyard in San Saba County. Typically, all of Marsanne grapes from this block go into our Terre Blanc wine, but in 2016, I separated a portion of the grapes to play with. I’m incredibly happy that I did. This wine has a rich, mineral texture that will become more complex with time. It bursts with spicy aromatics, and is lush with flavors of Meyer lemon and roasted almonds, with a creamy vanilla finish. It’s a great wine to serve with rich seafood dishes, and grilled chicken or pork tenderloin. 

Terre Blanc 2015

While each of those single grapes make fantastic wines on their own, they make a wholly different and equally gorgeous Rhône-style blend made with 67% Marsanne, 21% Roussanne and 12 % Viognier. The grapes for this wine were harvested over a three-week period, with Roussanne coming into the cellar two weeks after the Viognier harvest, and the Marsanne harvested in between. Terre Blanc has a rich golden color, and opens with soft aromatics of honeycomb and chamomile. This lively blend has toasted almond, honeydew melon and pear flavors, and a crisp mineral-like mouthfeel. This perky white wine pairs nicely with chicken, pork and especially with Texas seafood on the grill.

Give these two newly released, single variety white wines a try this summer. Then, see what the Roussanne and Marsanne taste like married together in our Terre Blanc. We think each of these wines will conjure the same romance as a wedding day.

If you are planning a wedding, we also have a full suite of bridal themed wines, each made with a blend of grapes. They’re a great addition to any celebration of love.

Penney’s Picks: Perfect Picnic Pairings

Written By Penny S. Adams, Winemaker and Viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery

This gorgeous spring weather in Texas calls for a picnic. Why wait for Memorial Day when you can pack a basket of delicious food and Texas wine to drink with it. Here are three food friendly wines that will feel right at home on a picnic blanket, paired with excellent recipes from the United Tastes of Texas cookbook by Jessica Dupuy.

2015 Rose de Dolcetto

There is no better wine to serve at a picnic than a dry rosé. The crisp, acidic qualities of rosé makes it versatile and the perfect match with a wide range of flavors in picnic dishes. Our rosé is made with Dolcetto grapes grown in the Diamante Doble Vineyard in Tokio, Texas. It is a party in a bottle with fresh scents of red berry fruit with peppery undertones. It has vibrant flavors of raspberry, cranberry and fresh-picked strawberry with a touch of lemon zest.  I recommend pairing it with a hearty potato salad.

Hill Country Potato Salad (Page 14 of United Tastes of Texas)

-        2 ½ lb. medium-size baby Yukon gold potatoes

-        2 tsp. table salt

-        6 center-cut bacon slices

-        4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced

-        ¾ cup chopped celery

-        ½ cup chopped green onions

-        ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

-        1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained

-        2 Tbsp. coarse-grained mustard

-        ½ cup diced dill pickles (optional)

  1. Bring potatoes, salt, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, drain and rinse under cold water 1 minute. Drain well.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tsbsp. Drippings. Crumble bacon.
  3. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Combine potatoes, bacon, reserved 2 Tbsp. warm drippings, eggs, next 5 ingredients, and pickles, if desired, in a large bowl. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

2015 Baby’s Breath

A chilled, bright white wine is always a fantastic choice for a picnic. Our Baby’s Breath is a festive wine that is perfect on a sunny day. And, it is packaged in a twist top, so no corkscrew is necessary. It has wonderful floral aromas from Riesling grown in the Texas High Plains, and rich honeyed pear flavors from the Roussanne grape. It is complex without being fussy with fresh citrus, candied lemon peel, baked apples with cinnamon, and firm minerals with a clean finish. It has just a hint of sweetness balanced with a slight tartness that pairs gorgeously with fried chicken.

Honey-friend Chicken with White Wine Cream Sauce (Page 84 of United Tastes of Texas)

-        ¾ cup honey

-        1 ½ Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or Champagne vinegar

-        1 ½ Tbsp. fresh orange juice

-        1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice

-        2 (3-lb.) cut-up whole chickens

-        ¾ cup all-purpose flour

-        2 large eggs

-        ¼ cup buttermilk

-        Vegetable or corn oil

-        ½ cup white wine (get an extra bottle of Baby’s Breath)

-        ½ cup chicken broth

-        1 cup heavy cream

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large glass or ceramic bowl; add chicken. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade; drain on paper towels. Pour marinade through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, reserving 2 Tbsp. marinade. Discard remaining marinade.
  3. Place flour in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs with buttermilk in a separate shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg mixture; dredge in flour, shaking off excess.
  4. Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 275 F. Fry chicken, in batches, turning occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until evenly browned and done. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste while hot.
  5. Remove and discard oil from skillet. Reserving drippings in skillet. Add wine, and cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add broth, and simmer 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add cream and reserved 2 Tbsp. marinade. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 6 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats a spoon.
  6. Pour sauce through a wire-mesh strainer into a serving bowl. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with fried chicken. 

2015 Texedo Red

For you red wine lovers, we have a fantastic wine to sip under the Texas sky. Texedo Red made with a blend of Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Tannat grapes is a lush wine full of raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, plum and concentrated dried berries mingled with tobacco and vanilla. It has a velvety mouth feel with just a touch of sweetness wrapped around a core of grippy tannins. Serve it lightly chilled with a variety of spicy and tangy dishes. I love it with tortilla chips and Texas Caviar.

Texas Caviar (Page 204 of United Tastes of Texas)

-        2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

-        2 plum tomatoes, diced

-        2 green onions, chopped

-        1 cup fresh corn kernels (2 ears)

-        ½ cup chopped red bell pepper

-        ½ cup Salsa Fresca

-        ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

-        2 garlic cloves, minced

-        1 tsp. table salt

Stir together all ingredients in a serving bowl. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally, 8 hours.

No matter what food you choose to pair with our wines, we want to make it easy for you to plan. We have packaged these three wines in a convenient “Summer Picnic Basket” special. Just click here to order our “Summer Picnic Basket.”

Happy picnicking!

From the Vineyard: Managing Winegrape Growth in Unpredictable Spring Weather

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

You know that sickening feeling you get when a storm is barreling down on you, and your car is left out in the elements? You just know that it is going to be pummeled by hail, resulting in a costly trip to the body shop.

Now imagine how you would feel if your entire livelihood was in the path of that same storm? That is exactly the situation Texas winemakers face each spring when extreme weather threatens the fresh growth of grape vines left helpless to the elements in the vineyard. If not a late frost, it is hail, severe winds, or a deluge of flooding rain that threaten our vines.

2017 Spring Planting at Wildseed Farm Vineyard

2017 Spring Planting at Wildseed Farm Vineyard

To make matters a bit more precarious than usual, the warmer than average January temperatures led to the growing season starting out much earlier than normal in vineyards across the state. Having bud break this early always puts growers on edge. The delicate buds are exposed to the risk of late spring frost that can decimate a crop. Additionally, spring storms rife with hail can be particularly devastating in young vineyards where vine trunks and cordons are developing. The earlier in the season when a hail event occurs, the more catastrophic it can be, as the more exposed newly developing buds are likely to be damaged.

Most varieties in the Hill Country are at bloom in their phenological calendar now, and factors like extreme rainfall and wind during this time can impact fruit set, and ultimately yield. In most grape variety blocks, we are in growth phases that range from pre-bloom to just post fruit-set. We are now in mid-season, and the fruit is better protected by larger leaf area acting as umbrellas of sorts.

2017 Spring Growth in High Valley Vineyard

2017 Spring Growth in High Valley Vineyard

In spite of the risks, the growing season is going well so far. Several storms have moved through our Hill Country vineyards recently causing limited hail damage to upper canopies and wind damage to canes. I’ve seen limited damage to Viognier clusters that are just beyond fruit set, so I expect no impact on yield. The storms last week fell in line with our normal “Easter Freeze” events that often plague Texas winegrape production. Several contracted vineyards in the Texas High Plains suffered severe loss of fruit for this season, but fortunately most have been spared. 

Spring Planting and Vineyard Management

We continue to plant to vineyard acreage, and diligently maintain our existing vineyards. It’s a busy time in the vineyards.

We have completed spring planting of seventeen acres in our various contracted Hill Country vineyards with Viognier, Trebbiano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Dolcetto, Graciano, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Tannat to bolster our production levels for our growing markets. I’m particularly excited about the Graciano and Carignan plantings because these varieties will contribute important complexities to our lineup, especially in our Rioja-style red wines. The nice spring rainfall created a little bit of a dance of sorts regarding getting into the vineyards to plant.

2017 Spring Growth in High Valley Vineyard

2017 Spring Growth in High Valley Vineyard

In vineyards planted last year, we are training young vines, which includes developing trunks, cordons and spurs, with frequent vineyard passes during the vines “grand period of growth.” During this approximately six-week period of rapid vine growth, they can grow more than an inch per day. As you can probably guess these tender new shoots are especially vulnerable to damage during this critical vine development stage. If damaged by weather, they may need to be retrained from the ground up: a devastating additional expense for vineyard owners.

In our older vineyards we are finishing up shoot removal along the cordons, opening up the canopies to more sunlight and allowing leaves to dry after spring rain. This also allows fungicide sprays to better penetrate the canopies and protect the fruit from the many fungal pressures we have here in the Hill Country during this critical time of the season.

With the early bud break, I predict we will have a slightly earlier harvest here in our Hill Country varieties, particularly Viognier. Despite the vines jumping out of their dormancy early this season, and the minor weather impacts on fruit crop, this 2017 vintage is looking better than ever!

Penny’s Picks: The Right Wines for Spring Sipping

As Published by Matt McGinnis, Founder & President of Pen&Tell Us

Wedding Oak Winery ~ Terre Blanc

Wedding Oak Winery ~ Terre Blanc

Spring is here! We’re celebrating the First Day of Spring and the Vernal Equinox this week, which is a perfect opportunity for us to try different food and wine pairings. Spring is a perfect time to break out refreshing white and rosé wines. We have a few highly acclaimed recommendations for you with top wines from the Texas Wine Journal, and a medal winner from the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.

In its recently published review of white wine blends, the Texas Wine Journal evaluated 17 wines submitted by 12 producers in Texas. Seven wine professionals evaluated the wines in a blind tasting format using a specific scoring system. In a state as large as Texas, it’s easy to understand that several white grape varieties were used in the blends. What’s interesting is that The Top 5 all contain Roussanne and all Top 10 contain Rhone Varietals. We are thrilled to have both our 2015 Bridal Veil and 2015 Terre Blanc selected in the Top 10.

The TEXSOM International Wine Awards continues to grow in its importance, and attracted a record 3,581 entries from 29 countries and 19 U.S. States this year. All wines were blind-tasted and judged by 71 internationally renowned industry influencers from 5 countries. Texas wines fared well with several awards. Our 2015 Rosé de Dolcetto won a Bronze Medal in the prestigious competition.

Pairing Top Rated Wines with Grilled Food

Spring is a perfect time to grill food outside in the beautiful Texas weather. Wine is a fantastic accompaniment with grilled food as the naturally occurring sugar, acidity and alcohol in wine complement almost anything cooked with flames.

Here are my recommendations for Spring wine and grilled food pairings with our wines:

Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Veil 2015, Texas High Plains with Grilled Veggies

Whether grilled veggies like asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and corn are your main course or a side dish, picking the right wine can turn it into the star of the show. The fire-roasted char and caramelization of grilled vegetables beg for fuller-bodied whites with a hint of residual sugar.

Our 2015 Bridal Veil, made with a blend of Trebbiano and Vermentino has enticing tropical aromas of pineapple and mango that bring out the fragrance of charred vegetables. These vibrant fruity flavors carry through to the finish, with crisp acidity that makes it versatile with a wide selection of veggies.

Wedding Oak Winery Terre Blanc 2015, Texas Hill Country and Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken always makes me think of carefree days and picnics by the lake. The hot coals bring out the best in the bird. The sweet caramelization and bitter char from the grill make it an excellent partner with buoyant white wines. Well textured Marsanne, aromatic peachy Viognier and tart, Trebbiano are all excellent choices to pair with grilled chicken.

Our Terre Blanc 2015 is an amazing wine with a fruitiness and lively tanginess that goes great with almost any style of grilled chicken. It’s made with estate -grown Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne grapes. It has a rich texture, honeysuckle fragrance, scents of tea, with spiced apricot, ripe pear and white peach flavors and a bit of spice.

Wedding Oak Winery 2015 Rosé de Dolcetto, Texas High Plains, Diamante Doble Vineyard and Grilled Fish

Selecting the right wine to pair well with grilled seafood is probably easier than grilling the fish itself. A range of wines with high acid are great with grilled seafood. Think of the kind of wines that make you pucker a little bit like tart, minerally dry rosé. These types of wines go well with any type of seafood that you would normally squeeze a little lemon onto.

Our Rosé De Dolcetto 2015 is delicate enough that it won’t overpower lighter fish, but fruity and vibrant enough for fattier fish like trout or salmon. It was made using the Saignée method, separating out the juice just after crushing the fruit with slight amount of skin contact time, giving it a delightful watermelon color. This wine has fresh aromas and flavors of red berry fruit, including red currant, raspberry, cranberry and fresh picked strawberry with a touch of lemon zest. The mouth feel is bright in the front with a warm clove-like spiciness in the mid to end palate.

Spring doesn’t last long in Texas so no matter what you choose to grill, take this opportunity to try a variety of award winning Wedding Oak wine pairings to discover which ones you like most.

Wedding Oak Winery Wins Best of Class at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2015 Sweet Alyssum Barrels

2015 Sweet Alyssum Barrels

Wedding Oak Winery  loves seeing how their wines compare to other great wines in similar categories. They’re thrilled to be awarded 11 medals — including a Best of Class award — at the revered San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest wine contest of solely American wines in the world.

Wedding Oak Winery wines made with 100 percent Texas-grown fruit were certainly put through their paces at the competition. A panel of sixty wine experts from the media, education, trade, and hospitality judged 7,100 submissions from small boutique wineries and large-scale suppliers from across the country.

An amazing thing happened this year: seven Texas wineries won Best of Class awards with their categories. That’s a huge accomplishment for one state to get that many awards, and second only to California. Best of Class Awards were also awarded to American wines recognized for extraordinary quality. The Texas wineries Best in Class award winners in 2017 are:

v  Brennan Vineyards – Viognier 2015 (Viognier – $25.00 and above)

v  Haak Vineyards & Winery – Tempranillo 2015 (Tempranillo – $0.00 – $24.99)

v  Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards – Sweet Blush Colibri (Dry Rose/Blush – RS >.25)

v  Messina Hof Winery – Merlot 2015 (Merlot – $15.00 – $18.99)

v  Perissos Vineyards and Winery – Dolcetto 2015 (Dolcetto)

v  Trilogy Cellars – Malbec 2015 (Malbec – $25.00 and above)

v  Wedding Oak Winery – Sweet Alyssum 2015 (White Blends – $20.00 and above)

Wedding Oak Winery is honored to win a “Best in Class” award for their Sweet Alyssum, which was just introduced last Spring as part of their Wildseed Farms Series. This slightly sweet wine has been a crowd pleaser. It’s incredibly fragrant with pear, orange peel, and dried flowers scents that set a cheery tone. A blend of primarily Muscat Canelli and Riesling gives this wine fresh flavors of ripe pear, navel orange, honey dew melon and a floral finish that fills the mouth with abandon.

Want to taste what the San Francisco judges loved? Try it with spicy foods like Thai noodles, pasta arrabiata, and shrimp diablo.

If you want to try our other 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition medal winners, here is a full list:

v  Wedding Oak Winery Sweet Alyssum 2015— Best of Class

v  Wedding Oak Winery Baby’s Breath     2015—          Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Bliss 2015 — Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Blush 2014—Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Veil 2015— Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery Sangiovese 2014— Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery Tempranillo Reserva 2014 —  Silver

v  Wedding Oak Winery Rosé de Dolcetto 2015 — Bronze

v  Wedding Oak Winery Tioja 2014— Bronze

v  Wedding Oak Winery Viognier 2015 — Bronze

v  Wedding Oak Winery Wine Cup 2015— Bronze

As originally communicated by Matt McGinni, Founder & President of Penn & Tell Us.