2015 TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition Presented by Texas Monthly 

Irving, Texas (August 10, 2015) –– TEXSOM co-founders and Master Sommeliers Drew Hendricks and James Tidwell today 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.

“This year, we opened the competition to sommeliers from adjoining states,” said Tidwell. “Increasingly, the influence of TEXSOM reaches well beyond the borders of Texas, so we felt it was time to include a potentially larger group to participate. We offer hearty congratulations to Nathan for winning the competition this year, and look forward to next year’s competition.”

In addition to laying claim to the title of “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.

Held August 7th to 10th at the Four Seasons and co-presented by the not-for-profit organizations the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation, Court of Master Sommeliers–Americas, Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and Society of Wine Educators–TEXSOM is the only event of its kind in the United States.  The speakers and judges constitute a who’s who list of the nation’s top wine professionals. Dozens of Master Sommeliers (MS), Certified Wine Educators (CWE), Masters of Wine (MW) and other respected industry professionals were integral parts of the conference.

The 2015 TEXSOM conference featured a stellar line-up of seminars, including:

  • A seminar and tasting on the lineage of the Pinot family by Josh Raynolds, editor of
  • A presentation on the aspects of Chianti and Tuscan Sangiovese by Italian wine experts  Alfonso Cevola CSW and Shelley Lindgren, Wine Director and Owner of A16 and SPQR in San Francisco.
  • A panel discussion comparing the various beverage certification programs with panelists including Andrew McNamara MS, Antony Moss MW AIWS, Peter Neptune MS AIWS CWE, and David Wrigley MW AIWS–moderated by Levi Dalton, Wine Editor of Eater NY.
  • A seminar exploring the sommelier darlings: Greek and Portuguese wines by Keith Goldston MS and Sheri Sauter Morano MW.
  • A presentation on Calvados by Jim Clarke, contributing writer to several trade and consumer magazines.
  • An exploration of classic liqueurs and their rise to stardom by Bobby Heugel, partner at Anvil Bar and Refuge, Underbelly, and the Hay Merchant.
  • A discussion of “old world” versus “new world” and whether it is still relevant by Devon Broglie MS and Joseph Spellman MS.
  • A presentation on wild beers by Thomas Burke MS and Melissa Monosoff MS.
  • A bonus seminar on the evolution of a wine list by the ever-entertaining Paul Grieco.
  • A seminar on the white grape varieties of Greece by Yoon HA MS and Matt Stamp MS CSW.
  • A Guild of Sommeliers presentation on the wines of the Rhone Valley with Fredrick L. Dame MS, Jay Fletcher MS, and Jay James MS.
  • A seminar and tasting of botrytis-affected wines from around the world by Shayn Bjornholm MS and Sean Razee MS AIWS.
  • A varietal focus panel discussion on Carignan with panelists Dilek Caner MW, W. Scott Harper MS CWE, Larry O’Brien MS, and Guy Stout MS CWE, moderated by Greg Harrington MS.
  • A presentation on the red wines of Germany, Austria, and Hungary by Wayne Belding MS, Tim Gaiser MS, and wine writer Michael Franz Ph.D.
  • An exploration of “Iberia’s Loire,” the Douro/Duero corridor by Devon Broglie MS and Matt Stamp MS CSW.
  • A tasting focus on distinguishing winemaking choices led by Matthew Citriglia MS and Geoff Kruth MS.
  • A seminar on wines of process, including sparkling, oxidized, and fortified wines led by Charles Curtis MW and Laura DePasquale MS.
  • A presentation on the secondary styles of Japanese Sake by Antony Moss MW AIWS and Certified Master Sake, Shochu Sommelier and Jizake Educator Toshio Ueno.
  • A beverage laboratory with a perspective on viewing a beverage program from an ownership perspective by Doug Zeif, principal at The Concept Guru and Next! Hospitality Advisors.
  • A regional focus seminar on Bordeaux presented by Larry Stone MS and Bernard Sun.
  • An exploration of Australia and New Zealand and the commonalities of new wave producers by Cameron Douglas MS and Andrew McNamara MS
  • A bonus seminar on the philosophy of wine lists by Greg Harrington MS, Craig Collins MS, Rajat Parr, Bernard Sun, Francis Percival and Laura Rhys MS—moderated by Jim Clarke.
  • A beverage lab panel discussion on ideas and issues in the modern beverage industry with John Blazon MS, Levi Dalton, Shelley Lindgren, Antony Moss MW AIWS, moderated by respected wine writer and author Jordan Mackay.
  • A retrospective tasting of iconic winery Kumeu River Wines with its winemaker Michael Brajkovich MW.
  • A seminar on wine fraud prevention in restaurants by expert Maureen Downey DWS CWE.
  • A retrospective tasting of iconic winery Maison Trimbach by twelfth-generation owner Jean Trimbach.

2015 Sponsors: The event is made possible by the generous support of many sponsors, with scholarships provided by the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation.

Sponsors include:

(Educational Partners) Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation, Society of Wine Educators, Specialty Tea Institute, Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

(Platinum Sponsors) Aqua Panna, Balzac Communications & Marketing, Favorite Brands LLC and affiliates, Fortessa, Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Glazer’s Family of Companies, Las Colinas Beverages, Republic National Distributing Company, San Pellegrino, The Sorting Table, Washington State Wine, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, Wines of Chile.

(Gold Sponsors) Australia Today, Banville Wine Merchants, Broadbent Selections, Chappellet Winery, Classic Wine Merchants, Champagne Taittinger, Coravin, Gerard Bertrand, GoVino, In Pursuit of Balance, Irving Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau, Louis Latour, Maison Marques & Domaines, Meritage Events, Old Bridge Cellars, Pioneer Wine Company, Rhone Valley Wines, Sartori di Verona, SevenFifty, Texas Fine Wine, Texas Monthly, Wilson Daniels, Wine Ring.

(Silver Sponsors) Beaujolais, Bellavista Franciacorta, Bourgognes, Cape Classics, Classic Wine Merchants, Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco, Coquerel Wines, The Cultured Cup, Empson USA, Ensemble Beverages, Esprit du Vin, Flowers Vineyard & Winery, Folio Fine Wine Partners, India Tea, Iron Horse Vineyards, Kistler Vineyards, Kobrand Fine Wine and Spirits, Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Multicarte Inc., Napa Valley Vintners, New Wines of Greece, North Berkeley Wines, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Russian River Throwdown, Santa Barbara Vintners, Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans, Serendipity Wines, Sideshow Wine Freaks Tour, Silver Oak | Twomey, Wine Sellers Ltd., Wines of Germany, Wines of South Africa.

(Bronze Sponsors) A to Z Wineworks, Abigail Adams Wine Consulting, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Ambiente, Atlas Imports, Austrian Wine, Aveniu Brands, Bellavista Franciacorta, Bending Branch Winery, Blackbird Vineyards, Becker Vineyards, Boisset Collection, Branwar Wine Distributing Company, Brazos Wine Imports, Broadbent Selections, Browne Family Vineyards, Constellation Brands, Copain Wines, Cornerstone Cellars, Crimson Wine Group, Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, Ehlers Estate, Emeritus, Ernest Vineyards, Fisher Vineyards, Flat Creek, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Fredrick Wildman & Sons, Frias Family Vineyard, Frisson Wine, Global Vineyard Importers, Groth Vineyards & Winery, Guarachi Family Wines, Hall Napa Valley, Hahn Family Wines, Hanzell, The Hess Collection, Hilliard Bruce, Hope Family Wines, Hye Meadow Winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Kistler Vineyards, La Cigale Fine Wines, Lang  & Reed Wine Company, LCF Wines, Lede Family Wines, Llano Estacado, LoCascio Selections, Locations, Long Meadow Ranch, Louis Latour, Maison Marques & Domaines, The Mark Wine Group, Martinelli Winery & Vineyards, Messina Hof Winery & Resort, McPherson Cellars, McWilliams Family Winemakers, Meteor Vineyard, Mutual Trading Company, Old Bridge Cellars, Opus One, Pahlmeyer, Patz & Hall, Paul Hobbs Winery, Penfolds, Precept Wine, Poutotor Vineyard, Premier Beverage, Premium Port Wines, Querciabella, Revana Family Vineyard, Revelry Vintners, Sacred Hill Vineyards, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Sake One, Spire Collection, SM Wine Group, Smith Story Wine Cellars, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery, Stolpman Vineyards, Talley Vineyards, Terroir Selections, Texas Fine Wine, Trefethen Family Vineyards, Villa Maria, Villa Trasqua, Vin di Vino, Vina Ventisquero, Vine Street Imports, Vineyard Brands, Vintage Point, William Chris Vineyards, ZD Wines.


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.