Lost Draw Cellars may well be the only winery in Texas that has decided to produce hand sanitizer — using rosé to do it.
With Purell and other hand sanitizers increasingly difficult to find on store shelves because of the coronavirus pandemic, distilleries across the country have stepped up to release their own, following guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization to make sure it’s safe and effective. They’re distributing it, often for free, to a mix of front-line workers and members of the public.
But it’s easier for distilleries than it is for wineries and breweries to make the switch to hand sanitizer, even though all of them produce alcohol. Many distilleries may already have the high-proof ethanol required for the germ-killing solution; the ones who don’t can start churning it out with their stills. Not having the proper equipment didn’t deter Fredericksburg winery Lost Draw, however.
Owners Andy Timmons and Andrew Sides recognized they had part of what was needed to make hand sanitizer — 600 gallons of booze, in their case rosé — and partnered with Azeo Distillery in nearby Hye to do it. They ended up with 80 gallons of Lost Draw-branded sanitizer, added it to bottles that their supplier Berlin Packaging donated and are now giving it away to Lost Draw customers.
Worried that Lost Draw won’t have enough rosé to bottle as wine in the future? It turns out the winery makes plenty of this warm-weather essential.
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"We typically make between 3 to 4,000 gallons of rosé a year, and since that is typically released in spring and summer for us, we were anticipating a dip in sales due to the current climate and used a portion of it to make our hand sanitizer," Sides said. "Don't you worry, there's still plenty of rosé to be had."
In addition to the 140-proof distilled rosé, Lost Draw’s hand sanitizer also has essential oils and aloe vera. (To properly kill germs, alcohol-based sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol. Lost Draw’s is at 75% alcohol by volume.)
Any Lost Draw customers who place an order of wine online, have it delivered or pick it up curbside will receive a bottle of the rosé hand sanitizer while supplies last.
Sides said he noticed that the hand sanitizer didn’t completely lose the alluring aroma of its rosé base, at least not at first. In the finished product, mixed with the other ingredients, it’s not noticeable.
The rosé base "impacts the aromas for sure," he said. "Because you are distilling it to such a high alcohol volume, it overwhelmingly smells like ethyl alcohol, but the smell has a bit of an aroma where you can tell it's not distilled from a grain, but from grapes. Our hand sanitizer itself will not have that smell, as we added aloe vera and essential oils so it (wouldn’t have) a potent alcohol smell straight out of the bottle."
Other local alcohol producers now offering hand sanitizer include Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka, Still Austin Whiskey and Desert Door Texas Sotol. Among the first to make the pivot to producing sanitizer was Blanco’s Milam & Greene Whiskey.