Many say TexSom is the most prominent and influential wine education conference in the world, held every year in Dallas. This year, TexSom celebrated its 11th anniversary on August 8 -10, at the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas in Las Colinas, Texas. Founded in 2005, TexSom was started by Master Sommeliers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks in order to promote wine education to Sommeliers. Today, TexSom draws Sommeliers, retailers, and wine buyers from all around the world.
Contributing Author: Clothilde Lafarge, Keeper Collection Intern
This year, TexSom offered participants a chance to attend 24 very different seminars such as “Focus on Rhône Valley Wines”, “Wild Beers: Old World versus New World”, and “Sake”.
Attendees also had the opportunity to attend the Grand Tasting and Awards Reception, which is held on the last evening and offers a wide range of wines from all around the world. This tasting is sponsored by the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. In addition to the different seminars, TexSom hosts the “TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition” sponsored by Texas Monthly. This competition allows Sommeliers to pit their knowledge and expertise against their peers. For the first time, the competition was open to qualified candidates who not only live in Texas, but also for those who in neighboring states, such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The winners of the contest were announced during the Grand Tasting. This year, winning TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition was Nathan Fausti, Sommelier at Olive & June in Austin.
Keeper Collection was invited to be a part of the TexSom social media team during the entire event. It was a great opportunity for me. Assisting Keeper on the social media team offered me the opportunity to attend some of the seminars, as well as taste wines at the Hospitality suites and to meet people in the wine world.
I was very lucky to attend these seminars:
- Greek and Portuguese Wines
- Wild Beers: Old and New World
- Botrytis-Affected Wines from Around the World
- Wines of Process: Sparkling, Oxidized, Fortified, and Beyond
- Tasting Focus: Distinguishing Winemaking Choices
- BEVlab: Viewing a Beverage Program from an Ownership Perspective
During these seminars, we tasted wines that related to the subject presented by the speakers. All of the seminars I attended were very interesting. I learned a lot about wines, beers, spirits and botrytis wines. Most of these conferences were given by Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine. It was an honor for me to meet so many Masters in only two days.
Once the seminars were done, tastings continued in hospitality suites. The concept is very simple. There are different rooms with different themes, by various types of vendors such as an importer company, Becky Wasserman and Co. and Broadbent Wines or an association representing a wine region such as “Wine of Germany” or “Rhône Valley Wines”. It was great opportunity to discover new and interesting wines.
At dinner, wines were offered to taste as well. At one dinner, I tasted wines from South Africa, such as Cartology from Alheit Vineyards , a Grenache Wine by A.A Badenhorst Family Wines and a Pinot Noir from Storm . To finish the dinner, I tasted Quinta Da Leda, Douro from Portugal. This dinner allowed me to expand my knowledge of South African wines.
Monday night was the Grand Tasting and Awards Reception. During this reception, the winner of the competition was announced. The Grand tasting included wines from around the world such as Champagne, Napa Valley, Austria and Australia, to name a few.
The large size of this event was very impressive to me. TexSom had an army of people to complete all of the tasks needed, including competition judges, speakers, and over 120 volunteers, in addition to the TexSom staff. Just polishing over 15000 wine glasses takes many man hours to accomplish. The volunteers are professionals dedicated to the wine industry. The leader of the volunteer team was June Rodil, who was recently named a Master Sommelier. Many volunteers stay as long as one week to help prepare everything before, during, and after TexSom. Thank you to every volunteer for all that you did to make my experience so memorable. It is not easy work and is very tiring, often starting before 7:00 AM and ending after 12:00 midnight.
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to participate in TexSom. It was an amazing experience and one that I will not forget.
Below are some pictures I captured throughout the TexSom events. I hope I will be able to come back to TexSom one day.