photography by Bode Helm
Culinary circles in Dallas are buzzing about the new girl in town: Pappas Bros.’ new master sommelier, BARBARA WERLEY. She is one of only 15 female master sommeliers in the world and only the second master sommelier in Texas. Many wine professionals call themselves “sommeliers,” but they’ve learned what they know from wine distributors instead of bona fide wine educators. Not Werley. She was the fourth American woman to pass the Court of Master Sommelier’s infamous three-part test, which includes the dreaded blind tasting. Pappas Bros. says it found her after an “extensive” search. Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, she worked first at the Ritz in Chicago and the Ritz in Washington, D.C., before moving on to the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where she was the city’s first female sommelier. Don’t expect her to make sweeping changes to the Pappas Bros. wine list. It features 33,000 bottles, one of which is an 1847 Château d’Yquem. Werley calls it a veritable wish list for connoisseurs. If you’re eager to meet the master, you won’t have a hard time catching her. “I’ll probably come in and work every night even if I don’t have to,” she says. “I don’t know that many people in Dallas quite yet. It’s a pleasure to work with the team and walk the floor meeting new people. I love it.”