The 8th Annual Texas Sommelier Conference: Registration is Open!

The dates for one of the area’s most interesting events is set. On August 12- 13, the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas will host the 8th Annual Texas Sommelier Conference. The three-day conference includes educational sessions, wine tastings, and social media workshops. The 2011 TexSom conference featured the largest contingent of Master Sommeliers at a public event. This year should be no different. However, you don’t have to be any kind of sommelier to buy a seat.  Some of the names you can rub shoulders with include:

Scheduled Master Sommeliers include James Tidwell, Drew Hendricks, Wayne Belding, Brett Zimmerman, Guy Stout, Tim Gaiser, Laura Williamson, Keith Goldston, Nate Ready, Melissa Monosoff, Brian Cronin, Cameron  Douglas, John Szabo, Geoff Kruth, Laura DePasquale, Jay Fletcher, Andrew McNamara, Peter Neptune and Greg Harrington. The speaker lineup also includes James Beard Award Winners Rajat Parr and Paul Grieco, Master of wine Christy Canterbury, wine marketer Paul Wagner, Union Square Hospitality Group Wine Director John Ragan, and Leonetti Cellar Owner Chris Figgins.

The seminar topics, times, and various ticket prices are listed below. For more information or to register, click here. Like, fast.

You can be a sommelier like this Guy!

In addition to the seminar schedule, the Texas’ Best Sommelier competition runs behind the scenes. The prize for the winner includes scholarship money to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers’ certification program. The winning sommelier will be announced at the Grand Tasting on Monday, August 13, which will include 150 world-class wines and hors d’oeuvres from Four Seasons Executive Chef Christof Syre.

Saturday, August 11-—Pre-conference tasting and social media boot camp
9:00am to 3:00pm
9:00am –12:00pm:      Tasting Workshop: Understanding the Process of tasting—led select Master Sommeliers (TBD)
12:00 – 1:00pm:           Lunch (not included in admission)
1:00 – 3:00pm:            The Kimmeridgian Chain—led by Wayne Belding MS
9:00am –12:00pm:      Social Media Boot camp—led by blogger Tony Jones
12:00 –1:00pm:           Lunch (not included in admission)
1:00 –3:00pm:             Engaging People with Social Media—led by social media expert Rick Bakas

***Seminars are open to the public. Saturday passes cost $50 per person and include access to either the Tasting Track or Social Media Track (attendees are not permitted to interchange track offerings). Please note lunch is not included with admission.

Sunday, August 12
9:00am to 5:00pm—Educational seminars on contemporary issues to include:
•         Bordeaux—led by Wayne Belding MS and Brett Zimmerman MS
•         Texas Terroir—led by Guy Stout MS and Christy Canterbury MW
•         Riesling—led by Tim Gaiser MS, Laura Williamson MS, Paul Grieco and Keith Goldston MS
•         Oregon—led by Nate Ready, MS
•         Beer—led by Melissa Monosoff MS and Brian Cronin MS

***Seminars are open to the public. Sunday passes cost $175 per person and include lunch. Sunday and Monday passes are available at a discounted price of $225. Each class features at least eight wines to taste and lasts one hour and fifteen minutes. Seating is limited to 50 participants per seminar.
Although open to the public, these seminars are also appropriate for those working in the industry— such as distributor representatives, sommeliers, restaurant managers and servers.

Monday, August 13
9:00am to 5:00pm—Educational seminars on contemporary issues to include:
•         State of the Industry—led by Moderator James Tidwell MS and panel members
Drew Hendricks MS, Paul Wagner, Rajat Parr, John Ragan, Rick Bakas
•         New Zealand: Trends for the Future—led by Cameron Douglas MS and Andrew McNamara MS
•         Niagara Peninsula—led by John Szabo MS and Geoff Kruth MS
•         Cabernet Franc—led by Laura DePasquale MS, Jay Fletcher MS and Peter Neptune MS
•         Winery Retrospective: Leonetti Cellar—led by Chris Figgins and Greg Harrington MS

*** Monday, April 13 courses deliver industry-specific material and thus are only open to the trade. Each seminar features at least eight wines to taste and lasts one hour and fifteen minutes. Monday passes cost $75 per person and include lunch. Sunday and Monday passes are available at a discounted price of $225. Seating is limited to 50 participants per seminar.
6:00 to 7:00pm—Wine Pre-Reception
7:00 to 8:30pm—Grand Tasting and Texas’ Best Sommelier 2012 Announcement Ceremony
***Open to the public. Tickets cost $95 per person.  Attendance to the Grand Tasting is included in the multi-day pass.

***Complete package tickets including Sunday and Monday passes and Grand Tasting tickets can be purchased for $300

INFORMATION: TEXSOM will be held on August 12-13, 2012 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth a pre-conference tasting and social media boot camp will be held Saturday August 11. For more details and conference registration information, please visit
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: For media interested in attending or covering TEXSOM 2012, please contact Keely Garibaldi at C. Milan Communications, [email protected] or 415.392.6600.

TEXSOM and the Texas’ Best Sommelier Competition were founded by James Tidwell, MS, CWE, Sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas and Drew Hendricks, MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston. 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 160 Texas sommeliers have competed.

The Texas Sommelier Association is a trade association comprised of Texas wine professionals. The Association 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. The organization 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 & 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