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Aug 132015

Wall-to-wall attendance at 2015 TEXSOM

Four Takeaways from 2015 TEXSOM

Looking back to my first Texsom in 2008, I’ve attended a majority of the TEXSOM conferences over its past eleven years. As I recall, the first one I attended barely broke an attendance of around 200 people. The vast majority were local sommeliers (barely enough to fill a hotel ballroom). They were bolstered by a moderate-sized group of wine aficionados who attended the TEXSOM grand tasting. But, one thing’s been clear during this time, the driver for this event has been the vision of TEXSOM founders and Master Sommeliers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks to create a unique event for career-minded beverage professionals.

This year’s TEXSOM  (held August 8-10) was a “grown-up” version of James’s and Drew’s early conferences now having six simultaneous breakout sessions each morning and afternoon over the two-day period. This year, it brought to the Four Seasons Resort Dallas (Las Colinas) over 1000 attendees including nearly a third of all Certified Master Sommeliers residing in the United States.

The reality of TEXSOM is that there is really no other wine and beverage educational event operating at the same caliber. Its attributes includes:

  • Extensive guided tastings and panel presentations lead by MS, MW and international wine luminaries
  • Sommeliers, wine professionals and volunteers in attendance now come from over 18 states.
  • The 11th annual Best Sommelier competition has now expanded beyond Texas to include surrounding states with (I presume) expansion in sight to reach all of America’s coasts.
  • Associated educational courses and certification examinations from both the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas and the UK-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

I have four major takeaways from the 2015 TEXSOM that I want to share with you.


Trimbach Retrospective Tasting led by Jean Trimbach

#1 – As a Taster, I Have the Opportunity to Learn from the World’s Best

It was an honor to sit, taste and learn from the best and most knowledgeable professionals in the beverage industry. This year my personal track was: Continue reading »

 Posted by at 3:12 pm
Aug 112015

Nathan Fausti 2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition Winner

FLASH: Nathan Fausti of Olive & June Named 2015 Best Sommelier at Texsom

2015 (11th Annual) TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition Presented by Texas Monthly

TEXSOM co-founders and Master Sommeliers Drew Hendricks and James Tidwell last night announced at the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas Grand Tasting that Nathan Fausti of Olive & June in Austin, Texas, is the 2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier. The 2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition, presented by Texas Monthly, takes place during TEXSOM, the most prominent and influential wine education conference in the United States, held annually at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

Fausti topped a strong field of 23 other competitors in a rigorous three-part wine examination involving service, blind tasting and theory. An elite panel of Master Sommelier and Master of Wine judges named Fausti the 2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier at a ceremony on Monday evening.  The competition is a key part of TEXSOM. To participate, candidates must be a current resident of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, or Texas and must not have passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier Examination. Previously, only Texas sommeliers were allowed to apply for the competition.

In addition to being honored with the title “2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier,” Fausti received a scholarship of $2,500 from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program. David Donalson of Goody Goody Liquor in Dallas, Texas was the second runner up and will receive a $1,500 scholarship, and the 3rd place winner Luis La Torre of Spec’s Fine Wines in Dallas, Texas will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Nathan Fausti is the 11th winner of the TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition to be honored with the TEXSOM T.V. Munson Trophy. The trophy is named after Thomas Volney Munson (1843–1913) often called the “Grape Man of Texas”. He was a horticulturalist and grape hybridizer who collected, categorized and bred Native American grapes. Munson’s greatest achievement to the world of wine was providing the French and European vineyards with phylloxera-resistant root stock from wild Texas grapes. This allowed vineyards across Europe to recover from the devastating blight of the 1800s. France later presented Munson the Chevalier du Merite Agricole of the French Legion of Honor.

Nathan, congrats!


2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition Organizers & Winner, Nathan Fausti (center)


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 a total of 1,000 attendees, of whom 700 are sommeliers, retailers and wine buyers.

 Posted by at 2:04 pm