As August wains, I need to say my final goodbyes to this year’s Texsom. The new acquaintances, visits with old friend and, oh yes, the education happened and went far to quickly.
After ten years, the “little” sommelier conference that James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks believed could fill an important industry need has. There are far more advanced and master sommeliers in Texas than there were ten years ago. But more importantly, there are many more “in the system” studying, taking certifications and basically taking their career in wine far more seriously than they would have without Texsom. While statistics are not available on this, it appears to me that there are more and younger sommeliers involved than every before in Texas. Texsom should be credited as being the leader that has made this happen.
All this happened in ten years, but it wasn’t without challenges and doubts between the organizers. At this year’s Grand Tasting and best sommelier award presentation James Tidwell said, “There was a point after about three years after the start where Texsom was still ‘upside-down’ with respect to covering its costs with my employer (the Four Seasons Las Colinas Resort).”
It took some serious thinking at that point. But, James and Drew continued and slowly and steadily made progress. From my point of few, it all came together about three or four years ago. It was obvious that Texsom had become a national event for sommeliers and others in the wine trade. This year’s overall attendance for all seminars, tastings, associated courses and competition approached one thousand people.
From the standpoint of Texas wines, Texsom has helped bring them into the national limelight. Many out-of-staters have received their first of Texas wine right here at Texsom. Furthermore, the current relationship between Texsom and the Dallas Morning News wine competition, has added further credibility to Texas wineries that we medals with their wines in the competition.
I’m saddened that Texas 2014 is now over, but I look forward to 2015 when Drew, James and their sommeliers in training, open their tent again for all to attend.