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Keeper Collection Announces Finalists to Compete in 2018 Somms Under Fire

AUSTIN, Texas [November 8, 2017] – Keeper Collection, LLC, host of Somms Under Fire the preeminent live sommelier wine and food pairing competition, is pleased to announce the three finalist and alternate competitors for the 2018 event. Sommeliers from 20 states contested in a qualification exam, designed to select the most knowledgeable wine professionals to compete in Somms Under Fire, which will be held Sunday, January 28, 2018 at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center in Austin, Texas.

In its seventh year, Somms Under Fire has become one of the most significant sommelier competitions in the country. Its prestige, quality of competition, and substantial prizes regularly draw an outstanding group of wine professional applications from across the U.S. This year’s competition drew one of the largest fields of highly qualified sommeliers. All six competitors are Advanced Sommeliers certified through The Court of Master Sommeliers.

The three final competitors are (listed alphabetically):

  • Nick Davis is founder and creative director at Medium Plus, a beverage consulting and

    events company in Seattle, WA. Davis has an extensive service background having

    worked at Canlis, RN74 and Oliver’s Twist.

  • Michael “Mick” Descamps, a resident of Macomb, MI, is wine director and sommelier at

    Red Wagon Wine Shoppes. He has 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry working in restaurants and retailers in the Metro Detroit area, including Bourbon Steak and SaltWater in the Michael Mina Restaurant Group and Plum Market of Michigan.

  • Jill Zimorski is a Champagne specialist representing Moët Hennessy USA Portfolio in an education-focused role teaching and tasting in the greater Chicago area. She has been in the restaurant and wine business for more than a decade, working at restaurants such as Palette at the Madison Hotel in Washington D.C., Charlie Palmer Steak, Café Atlantico, Zaytinya, Oyamel, and Volt.

    Three alternates have been selected to compete should a contestant not be able to participate. In order of rank, the alternates are:

  • Morgan Harris, head sommelier at Aureole, New York, NY.

  • Eric Crane, training director, Empire Distributors, Inc., Atlanta, GA.

Keith Fergel, general manager, Taylor’s Kitchen, Sacramento, CA.

The sommeliers earned a spot in Somms Under Fire based on their extensive wine knowledge and impressive professional experience in the industry. Applicants were required to meet specific professional wine industry requirements, as well as required to complete a wine knowledge exam as the final determinant in the selection process.

Contestants will test their mettle in the in-the-moment food and wine pairing challenge before a panel of expert judges. Becky Wasserman & Co will provide the grand prize of a one-week wine internship with a renowned Burgundy expert, in Burgundy, France, and the TEXSOM Foundation will provide a travel grant for the winner.

Somms Under Fire has formed a new strategic alliance with TEXSOM. Keeper Collection owner, Diane Dixon says, “Our mission of advanced education for consumers and wine professionals aligns extremely well with TEXSOM’s mission. The organizations have a lot of synergy, and it is a natural fit to collaborate on this event. The TEXSOM Foundation becomes the underwriter for the grand prize travel grant to give back to the wine industry. Wines used in our competition will be selected from the TEXSOM International Wine Awards submissions, and a member of the TEXSOM team will participate as a judge. With this alliance, Keeper Collection will work with TEXSOM’s two outstanding organizations and the associated Foundation all year long.”

“Somms Under Fire was a stroke of genius from Diane Dixon and the Keeper Collection Team,” says Devon Broglie, event emcee, Master Sommelier, and Global Beverage Buyer at Whole Foods. “No other event puts the skill, craft and art of wine and food pairing on display like Somms Under Fire, combining incredible knowledge and expertise in a live, spectator-friendly format. The result is a fast paced, entertaining competition like no other. I’m amazed to see the interest in competing from all over the country and think it speaks to how unique, special, and prestigious the event has become.”

Tickets to attend Somms Under Fire will be announced soon on the Keeper Collection website:

About Keeper Collection

Keeper Collection is a distinguished wine and food experience, event and travel company that operates #SommChat, Somms Under Fire, Wine Ride, Chefs Under Fire, Life Tastings Blog, and Keeper Travel. Keeper has garnered international attention for its creation of #SommChat, a weekly wine education forum on Twitter, held every Wednesday, from 12-1 PM EST. Wine and Spirits Magazine says, “#SommChat is ‘Wine in 140 characters’ and has garnered an impressive guest list.” Guests include international wine professionals and an audience comprised of active participants from around the world. Connect with Keeper Collection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for the Finest Blend of Taste and Technology®.

Media Contact:

Matt McGinnis, Pen & Tell Us

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