Industry News

TexSom Conference Scheduled for August 15 & 16 at Four Seasons–Las Colinas


Wine courses and tastings with top experts that normally cost close to a thousand dollars are being offered for a nominal fee in the Dallas area. The Sixth Annual Texas Sommelier Conference (TexSom) showcases lectures and guided tastings at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas on August 15 and 16.

All wine lovers are invited to attend a full day of classes on Sunday, August 15th  ($150 for five seminars and lunch) and a grand tasting on Monday evening, August 16 ($75). A separate set of seminars, designed exclusively for the trade and media, are offered on Monday ($50 for five seminars and lunch).  Each class features at least eight wines to taste and lasts one hour and fifteen minutes. To register, visit

In its sixth year, this definitive wine event attracts top lecturers, industry professionals, writers and wine aficionados from across the United States.  The instructors include Master Sommeliers (MS), Certified Wine Educators (CWE), one Master of Wine (MW) and other respected wine educators.  "It is unheard of anywhere else in the world to have so many Master Sommeliers and other wine experts in one place at one time, offering up their knowledge," says Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks, one of the conference's founders.  "We already have registrants from across the country, while many Texans are still unaware this amazing opportunity is happening right in their backyard."

Courses open to the public include:  Chardonnay Around the World; Emerging Regions: Southern Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia; Classic German Regions and Styles; Emerging Region: Southern France from Gascony to Provenc;, and Classic Region: Greece .  Registration for the entire day is $50 and includes lunch.  Although open to the public, these classes are also appropriate for those working in the industry-  such as distributor representatives, sommeliers, restaurant managers and servers.

Trade/media-only courses provide a deeper level of expertise to industry professionals, including those working toward wine industry certification.  Topics include:  Management of a Beverage Program; Technical Seminar: ETS Labs Wine Flaws Seminar; Terroir Focus: Geographical Influences on Northwest Wines; Emerging Region: South America; and the Classic Region: Portugal.   Registration for the entire day is $50 and includes lunch.

While the courses are conducted, a competition for Texas' Best Sommelier runs behind the scenes. The prize for the winner includes round-trip tickets, tuition, and scholarship money to be used for any Court of Master Sommeliers certification program.

On Monday evening, the conference concludes with a Grand Tasting, at which wine professionals and the public come together to taste more than 150 world-class wines and witness the drama and celebration surrounding the naming of Texas' Best Sommelier 2010.  Last year's winner is June-Ann Rodil of Austin's Uchi.  She outperformed 20 other competitors and won the coveted title after a rigorous three-part examination involving wine tasting, service and theory.

Presented by the not-for-profit organizations the Texas Sommelier Association and the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, TexSom is the only event of its kind in the world.  Since its inception in 2005, it has attracted more than 1,500 wine professionals, and more than 120 Texas sommeliers have competed.

The speakers  and judges constitute a who's who list of the nation's top wine professionals, and a  heavyweight lineup has already confirmed:  Darius Allyn, MS; Serafin Alvarado, MS; Wayne Belding, MS; Rob Bigelow, MS; John Blazon, MS; Gordon Burns, ETS Laboratories; Charles Curtis, MW; Fred Dame, MS; Woody DeLuna, Laura DePasquale, MS;  Jay Fletcher, MS; Keith Goldston, MS; Scott Harper, MS; Greg Harrington, MS; Drew Hendricks, MS, CWE; Jay James, MS; Geoff Kruth; MS; Sally Mohr, MS; Peter Neptune, MS; Damon Ornowski, MS; Kevin Pike; Kevin Pogue, Ph.D; Josh Raynolds; Paul Roberts, MS; Joe Spellman, MS; Guy Stout MS, CWE; Bobby Stuckey, MS; James Tidwell, MS, CWE; Barbara Werley, MS; Laura Williamson, MS; and Brett Zimmerman, MS.

The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas in located in Irving, between Dallas and Fort Worth at 4150 North MacArthur Boulevard, Irving, Texas 75038. Valet parking or complimentary self-park is available. For more details and registration information, visit   As part of Four Seasons Resort and Club's Platinum Level Sponsorship, a room rate of $135 is being offered to conference attendees. Call Four Seasons Reservations at 972-717-2499 to obtain this rate.

The TexSom Conference Background

Texsom and the Texas' Best Sommelier Competition was founded by James Tidwell, MS, CWE, Sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas; Drew Hendricks, MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston; and Guy Stout, MS, Education Director for Glazer's Distributors.

The event is made possible by the generous support of many sponsors, with scholarships provided by the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation.  Sponsors include:  (Platinum-level) Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas, Republic National Distributing Company, Glazer's Distributors, Slingshot and Turn Key Events; (Gold-level) Aqua Panna and San Pellegrino; (Silver level), Banfi Vintners, Old Bridge Cellars, Constellation Brands, Moet-Hennessy USA, Broadbent Selections, Palm Bay International, Pioneer Wine Company, The Guild of Sommeliers, The Society of Wine Educators, and Wines of Chile;  (Bronze-Level):  Amapola Creek, Vineyards Seven and Eight; Ste. Michelle Wine Estates; Vineyard Brands; Treana; Hanzell; Fischer Vineyards; Wilson Daniels Ltd., Cape Classics  South African Wine,  NegociantsUSA, Vin DiVino, Iron Horse, Hahn Family Wines, Grieve Family Winery,  Salute!, and Majestic Fine Wines.  For more information, visit

The Texas Sommelier Association Background

The Texas Sommelier Association is a trade association comprised of Texas wine professionals that promotes professional wine service standards, outlines paths for further wine education and certification, and raises public awareness about the professional standards and certifications for sommeliers. It sponsors the "Texas' Best Sommelier" competition, with the winner being awarded scholarships for professional certification courses.  This competition is held behind the scenes during the Texsom conference.  For more information, visit

The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas Background

The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas was established to connect its members and the general public with the value, creativity and craftsmanship inherently present in the culinary and viticulture arts. This mission is fulfilled by funding grants, scholarships and research aimed at elevating the quality, awareness and enjoyment of good food and fine wine as well as hosting education and social events that enhance the quality of life for members and communities. These programs offer unique opportunities to enrich the minds and palates of guests, who in turn can relate their experience with friends sharing common interests.  For more information, visit

Conference Calendar

Sunday, August 15

9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.: Open to public.  Courses include Chardonnay Around the World , Emerging Regions: Southern Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, Classic German Regions and Styles , Emerging Region: Southern France from Gascony to Provence, and Classic Region: Greece .   All-day pass, including lunch, costs $150. 

Saturday, August 17

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:  Trade/Media only.  Topics include:  Management of a Beverage Program, Technical Seminar: ETS Labs Wine Flaws Seminar, Terroir Focus: Geographical Influences on Northwest Wines, Emerging Region: South America, and the Classic Region: Portugal.    Registration for the entire day is $50 and includes lunch.

7 p.m. to 10 p.m.:  Grand tasting,and Texas' Best Sommelier Awards Ceremony, $75. 

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