We spoke to Roxanne Myers, General Manager of Lost Oak Winery, about not only the wine business, but also the hospitality and events business.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. We’re talking about wine. Wine is a big business in Texas. The wine industry in Texas is growing. It’s coming up in stature and is something that we promote, drink Texas baby, drink Texas.
Roxanne Myers: Drink Texas.
Matt Register: Absolutely. Now we’re going to continue to bring you, some of the best in the wine industries in Texas. I tell you what George, I’m not a wine person myself. I’ve learned more about the wine industry in the last month or two than I thought I ever would. And I’m impressed. I did not know that the wine industry was, what it is now. I’m your host Matt Register, Jay Curry had to step out for a minute. George Walden, my business partner in Corporate Finance Associates, is joining me. George what do you think?
George Walden: Well, you’re right. Who doesn’t like the idea at the end of the day having a glass of wine. And relaxing looking at the fireplace perhaps. I enjoy wine. And it’s exciting to me to talk to somebody who actually grows wine and distributes wine. So this is going to be a lot of fun. And this is a family business. This is the whole… You have to be involved to make this happen. You take a lot of risk in the wine industry. A lot of things can go wrong. You can have bad weather that destroys a crop. You can have other things to occur that just make it difficult to become profitable. So tell me about the experience that you’re going through in the wine industry.
Roxanne Myers: Well to preface that. Despite what goes on in the climate and the other threats that we have to our industry, we have our recent economic impact survey, said that we have a 2.2 billion dollar economic impact on the state of Texas.
Matt Register: That’s a lot of wine.
Roxanne Myers: That’s a lot of wine. But in terms of the crop, we do, we do have significant threats like hailstorms and late freezes in the spring time. Right now, we’re determining crop yields going into the 2017 vintage. So we’ll see how that vintages is.
Matt Register: Guys, we’re talking to Roxanne Myers, who is the general manager of Lost Oak Winery in Burleson, Texas. You ever been to Burleson, Texas? Go to Lost Oak Winery and go check it out. Go see all the, the grapes in the wine production facility and everything else. Couple of interesting things we talked about during the break, right before we came on, that I would like to, to, to get to. You are self distributing your own wine. Talk to me about what that means and what it is you’re actually doing?
Roxanne Myers: So we direct deliver our product and direct sell our product to retailers. One of our bigger supporters are the HEB Central Markets in the state of Texas. I think they have some of the biggest Texas wine sections.
Matt Register: Sure.
Roxanne Myers: Whole Foods is doing their job in getting true high quality Texas wines, made with Texas fruit. So we work directly with the wine bars and each individual store. We have a sales manager that is… for our business, it’s in the DFW metroplex. And we’re hoping through a co-operative initiative, that we’re starting this year, called the Texas Vineyards Market to hit other areas in the States. Specifically, the HEB’s in San Antonio and Austin area.
Matt Register: Well, I’ll tell you what, we talked to a couple of other people in the Texas wine industry and Texas as a wine state, historically has not been known as a high quality wine producer. And that is probably, very outdated.
Roxanne Myers: Correct.
Matt Register: Would you agree? I mean…
Roxanne Myers: I would agree.
Matt Register: So tell me about why you think that is? I mean you think it just took a long time to mature the industry? Or do you think it is… mature long time ago and the reputation is now catching on?
Roxanne Myers: No, I think it’s recent. The growth of the number of wineries has, has, has been exponential in the last 10 years. They passed a law that we could open and direct to consumer location in a dry county. And so you saw a huge skyrocket in the number of wineries. Not just that, but we’re getting some more outside investment, advanced technologies and people are growing grapes that do well on the state of Texas. It’s a hot climate, warm nights. We try to go look for cool nights but warm days. It’s, it’s, it’s got a unique set of challenges. So warm climate varietals like; Tempranillo, Albano, Trebbiano they’re, they’re talian bridals that do well in a warm climate. And the state of Texas Viana, which is a rhône, typical rhone varietal that does really well in the state of Texas. So we’re finding varietals coming onto the market that are performing really well nationally and internationally, compared to their common counterparts like your Cabernet Sauvignon and your merlots. I want you to be looking… you will find emerging in the Texas market varietals that you don’t reconize. But I encourage you to go out there, try them, try something new, something you don’t recognize that says Texas on a label. You’ll be very surprised about the quality.
Matt Register: Well, I’ll tell you what. I know in, you know, international wine competitions, Texas has a solid chance of bringing home first place trophies and a lot of these things. And I think it’s surprising the world that, that they’re there. But I think, that by all measure, that at this point, we can honestly say they’re there. Right?
Roxanne Myers: We’ve racked up. Yes. The San Francisco International wine competition is a big one.
Matt Register: You know, absolutely. Now as a winery you have a tremendous amount of competition for that entertainment and leisure dollar. Right? Tell me a little bit about how you are dealing with that. And you’re having more and more competition daily. Right?
Roxanne Myers: Right.
Matt Register: As breweries and other craft and other ways people could spend those dollars pop up.
Roxanne Myers: Right.
Matt Register: Talk to me a little bit about that.
Roxanne Myers: So, that’s your unique selling proposition, that’s finding your message. I think telling the story of growing grapes in the state of Texas. You’re contributing to the Texas economy, being all things Texas. Supporting the Texas wine industry is supporting the Texas economy and supporting Texas agriculture. We’re making, we’re growing the raw material, making the product and selling the product directly in your state. Telling that story is compelling. I think that stands you, stands, helps you stand out against your competitors on a store shelf and I think we’re… that movement to go local is working in our favor. So if we can… The challenge is telling your story on a saturated retail shelf and you’re competing against 300 other bottles. So you have to get creative, social media being a good avenue for that.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. And you do have to get creative. Hey, there’s a lot of businesses, you got to get creative now days and wine is no different. Right? So tell me, you know, talk to me about what’s gonna come in the future. You guys are growing business, your growing in market share. What can we expect from you from the next couple of years?
Roxanne Myers: We…I believe our wholesale, Lost Oak. Are you talking about Texas?
Matt Register: No, I’m talking about Lost Oak, your company
Roxanne Myers: Yeah, I mean I watch the industry trends too. But I think you’ll see us more and more on retail sales, at retail shelves.
Matt Register: Okay.
Roxanne Myers: And that’s what we’re going to be focusing on in the next couple of years.
Matt Register: Okay guys, lost Oak Winery is where you need to go, check it out. Go find it at HEB, go find it at Spec’s, wherever wine is sold. Right? Look for it, find it. Roxanne…
Roxanne Myers: Ask for it.
Matt Register: Ask for it, that’s right. If you happen to be in Burleson, Texas swing by. Say “hi” to Roxanne, general manager over there at Lost Oak Winery. Thank you Roxanne for joining us.
Roxanne Myers: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Matt Register: What is the easiest way for someone to get in touch, should somebody want to learn more.
Roxanne Myers: Text me.
Matt Register: Text you. How about a Web site.
Roxanne Myers: Lostoakwinery.com.
Matt Register: Lostoakwinery.com. Go there. We’re going to have a link from our web site, Texasbusinessradio.com. If you’re driving, don’t have time to jot it down, Lostoakwinery.com. Guys, we got to take a break. Thank you for joining us.
Roxanne Myers: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Matt Register: Drink Texas.
Roxanne Myers: Drink Texas.
Matt Register: Drink Texas. We drink Texas wine around here. Guys we’re going to a break. We’ll be back right after this. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.