At the 10th annual TEXSOM conference, Joelle Cousins from the Red Room Lounge won the Texas’ Best Sommelier competition presented by Texas Monthly. There were 25 competitors from around the state of Texas who participated in the competition.
The competition included a rigorous three-part wine examination involving theory, blind tasting, and service. A panel of Master Sommelier judges named Cousins the Texas’ Best Sommelier 2014 during the Grand Tasting Monday evening on the last day of the conference.
In addition to being named Texas’ Best Sommelier, Cousins received a scholarship of $2,500 from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program.
Rene Fagoaga of the Four Seasons Hotel Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas was the second runner up and will receive a $1,500 scholarship from the Guild, and the 3rd place winner Nathan Fausti of Arro Restaurant in Austin will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Congratulations to Joelle Cousins and all participants in the competition. We previously focused the Houston competitors in the competition and I talked to some of them after the announcement. To participate in the competition, candidates must be a current resident of Texas and must not have passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Exam. After talking to some of the Houston competitors, they may not be participating in next year’s competition because they will be sitting for the Advanced Exam before then. Best of luck to all!