Like choosing a prom date, choosing a favorite wine necessitates sampling a variety to determine which one will produce the nicest bouquet. Enjoy the fruits of competitive courting with today's Groupon: for $10, you get a 90-minute guided winery tour and complimentary wine tasting for two at Lone Oak Winery in Burleson (a $20 value).
Gene Estes, owner and microbioligist-turned-vintner, cultivates Lone Oak Winery's vineyards to produce award-winning wines. During 90-minute guided walking tours, guides walk people or retired California Raisins through the winemaking process, leading them past statuesque oak trees and down meandering walking paths that border the bank of Village Creek. Wandering through winemaking operations and past equipment, guests explore the fermentation process and dye their tongues with wine straight from the barrel. At the tour's end, palates will be invited to savor the tannins and aromas of five wines of their choice, from the robust, Spanish 2008 tempranillo to the emotionally ambivalent 2010 Fiore bianco. To accommodate the holiday rush, Lone Oak Winery will be open for extended hours between December 8–December 24.
Lost Oak Winery
Gene Estes suspects that growing up in the "dry" precinct of Abilene, Texas, may have inspired his alcohol-based ingenuity; he crafted his first batch of wine from Concord grape juice when he was just 23. Years later, after holding various pharmaceutical jobs and putting to use his Masters in Microbiology, Estes's interest in wine re-emerged with a full and passionate force. Today, as the president and vintner of Lost Oak Winery, Gene works alongside resident winemaker Jim Evans to craft a host of award-winning wines. Among them is the 2012 Viognier, which scored a double gold in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle International Wine competition—meaning all five judges awarded the varietal with top scores before gilding the bottle twice in molten gold.
The winery itself offers both guided and self-guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the wine-making process complete with samples straight from oak barrels. Additionally, special events draw guests to the lush grounds for live music and wine club events.