After attending TEXSOM 2013 (Texas Sommelier Conference), I did a little reflection on what had taken place and wanted to put down my random thoughts of the conference. Okay, I tried to think of a clever title for this post and “Reflections Through a Wine Glass” was the best I could come up with quickly.
- With double the amount of people attending the conference, it required separating the people into multiple parallel sessions instead of everyone being in the ballroom as in previous years. For the most part I heard people were happy with this approach. The only thing discouraging was if there were two sessions you wanted to attend at the same time or being in one session and seeing tweets from another session and wishing you were in that one!
- A lot of wine glasses were used! I saw photos from Thursday of volunteers polishing glasses and I don’t even want to think how many dishwashers were running during the entire event. One thing which could help is the tasting breaks between sessions already had wine poured which was easy to grab a glass already with wine, but we weren’t sure what to do after the one taste. Put it somewhere and grab another filled glass? Dump it and ask to have it filled from a bottle? The latter would certainly save on the number of glasses needing to be washed at the time.
- I had the chance to meet a lot of new people who I already followed on Twitter and/or people who I now follow on social media. What better way to get together than over a glass of wine?
- It’s interesting how in a big conference you may meet one person, and then you’re running into them at different places throughout the rest of the conference. Or else you want to meet somebody and then you never get the opportunity to do so.
- The hospitality suites were wonderful as always letting you learn about and enjoy wines from around the world. Not to mention networking with new and old friends.
- The Taste Texas Wines hospitality suite was very popular and I heard very positive comments from people who didn’t know Texas even made wine. I hope to see more Texas wines represented next year whether it is in a hospitality suite, tasting break, or the Grand Tasting.
- Speaking of the Grand Tasting, people were confused as to the starting time. Our badges said 6:30 pm and other people said 7:00 pm. It turned out to be 7:00 pm and all was fine, but when there are a lot of wines to taste, you want to make sure you get there when it opens!
- 24 sommeliers competed for Texas’ Best Sommelier and Scott Ota of Arro Restaurant in Austin came out on top. He has been winning a lot lately and the legendary Master Sommelier Fred Dame told me after, “Boy’s got game.” That says something there.
- The seminars are always educational and the speakers for the most part make them enjoyable. And did I mention the ability to taste wines you may never get to try elsewhere?
- Watching the SOMM movie among Master Sommeliers with director Jason Wise answering questions after was definitely fun. Quite a few Masters who were in the movie were in attendance and candidate DLynn Proctor was even there.
- After two years of having an additional add on day for Saturday, it was gone this year. I missed being able to enjoy those sessions but I can certainly understand with the amount of effort the conference must take to put together.
- The Four Seasons Resort and Club once again was another great venue to hold the conference.
- Volunteers work hard!
- Sponsors are generous and make the conference even possible!
TEXSOM 2013 was another smashing success and mark your calendars for TEXSOM 2014 being held from August 9 – 11, 2014.