Now in its eighth year, TexSom -- the annual Texas Sommelier Conference (August 11-13 in Dallas) -- has become a national phenomenon, selling out quickly and attracting some of the biggest names on the U.S. wine scene today.
This year, Master of Wine Christy Canterbury will be joining the list of high-profile speakers (if you're unfamiliar with the über-prestigious Institute of Master of Wine, check out Christy's profile here).
And so will Rick Bakas, author of Back to Bakas, one of the leading wine bloggers in the U.S. and a top social media expert (tickets for his social media seminar are still available, as are spots for the Grand Tasting; for info, visit the conference Web site).
But beyond the honor roll of national wine celebs who will be in attendance, the thing that I like the best about TexSom (ignoring the fact that it abbreviates the word sommelier, a regrettable malapropism and one of my pet peeves) is that it brings together Texas wine professionals and wine lovers from every walk of life -- from backwaiters to wine directors, from neophyte enthusiasts to hotshot collectors.
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Currently, Texas has seven Master Sommeliers in residence (see the Court of Master Sommeliers site here), and they'll all be there. But there are also scores (literally) of Master Sommelier candidates and Society of Wine Educators "Certified Specialist" and "Certified Educator" candidates and certificate holders who will attend the event: They convene to study, trade notes, network, hobnob and taste a buttload of wine.
If you've been following along here at Wine Time, you know that one of my mantras is get to know your local wine professionals because they're the ones with the keys to the cellar. These are the stars who shine most brightly in my eyes, and TexSom is the perfect place to hang with the folks who bring us all that groovy wine.