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TEXSOM announces Alliance with Keeper Collection, Somms Under Fire and #SommChat

TEXSOM Continues to Grow and Improve

Company Enters Strategic Alliance and Makes Investments in Infrastructure

Dallas, Texas (November 7, 2017) –– TEXSOM Co-founders and Master Sommeliers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks today announced several developments that better position the TEXSOM entities to fulfill and expand their mission, including a strategic alliance with Keeper Collection, new warehouse facilities, and a new application process for the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.

“We continue to make investments in the things we feel will benefit the industry, reach new audiences, and promote our mission to further wine education and elevate service standards” said Tidwell. “Our alliance with Keeper Collection, LLC combines the resources of two wine industry leaders through access to a complementary audience, valuable administrative infrastructure, and Diane Dixon’s visionary educational work utilizing Twitter. Our own investments in infrastructure position us well for further expansion of our goals to help grow and promote our industry.”

Keeper Collection is a distinguished wine and food experience, event and travel company that operates #SommChat, Somms Under Fire, Wine Ride, Life Tastings Blog, Life Tastings Videos, 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. The guest list includes international wine professionals and an audience comprised of active participants from around the world.

TEXSOM and Keeper Collection have had an informal relationship for many years—with Keeper founder, Diane Dixon providing support for the TEXSOM Conference. By formalizing a strategic alliance, Keeper Collection will be expanding its collaboration with TEXSOM, particularly with Somms Under Fire and #SommChat, which provide wine education to both consumers and trade. Somms Under Fire is an annual wine and food pairing competition, held in January in Austin, TX. The winner of Somms Under Fire is awarded a one-week Wine Internship in Burgundy, France compliments of Becky Wasserman Selections, along with a travel grant from the TEXSOM Foundation. Wines from the TEXSOM International Wine Awards will appear as competition and dinner wines at the event. Key TEXSOM team members will participate with Masters Sommeliers James Tidwell and Melissa Monosoff as judges, and June Rodil and Devon Broglie as emcees.

Last week, the organization opened entries for the 2018 TEXSOM International Wine Awards (IWA). The team worked during the offseason on a new application program to streamline and simplify the entry process for wineries. Wineries may enter directly at https://competition.texsomiwa.com/. For more information, inquiries may be made by emailing enter@texsomiwa.com or by calling 214.886.1665.

Last month, TEXSOM moved into a new warehouse space in Farmers Branch, Texas. The new location provides a larger temperature-controlled environment to store and catalogue entries for the TEXSOM IWA. The growth in TEXSOM IWA over the past three years of TEXSOM ownership made the move possible. The competition grew 33% from 2014 to 2017, and this year’s first week of submissions set a new record. The overwhelming response and support by entrants inspired the move to a secure location with ample office space, which will lead to greater efficiency and room for expansion.

As proof of the recent strides made by the organization, in the recent Issue 5, 2017 of Meininger’s Wine Business International, writer Treve Ring penned an article on her recent experiences at the 2017 TEXSOM Conference. In it, she highlights what Tidwell and Hendricks have done through the years to build TEXSOM into the success it has become.


Founded in 2005, TEXSOM was started by Master Sommeliers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks to help promote professional wine service standards, outline paths for further wine education and certification, and raise public awareness about the professional standards and certifications for sommeliers. Today, the conference draws more than 1,000 attendees, of whom more than 800 are sommeliers and other beverage industry professionals. The TEXSOM group purchased the competition now known as the TEXSOM International Wine Awards in April 2014. One of the largest, most respected, and longest-running in the United States, the competition was founded in 1985 by journalist and wine expert Rebecca Murphy.

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