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Scott Ota Announced as Texas' Best Sommelier 2013

August 12, 2013

IRVING, TEXAS — Scott Ota of Arro Restaurant in Austin won the title of “Texas’ Best Sommelier” at the 9th annual TEXSOM Conference this week. The gathering drew a record crowd of over 700 wine professionals and enthusiasts from across the nation including dozens of Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine and countless Guild of Sommeliers members. Ota outperformed 24 Texas wine professionals in a rigorous three-part wine examination involving service, blind tasting and theory.

An elite panel of Master Sommelier judges selected Ota as Texas’ Best Sommelier 2013 at a ceremony on Monday evening, August 12, at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas. Texas’ Best Sommelier competition is a key part of TEXSOM, an annual wine-education conference presented by the not-for-profit organizations the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas and the Guild of Sommeliers. TEXSOM is the only event of its kind in the United States, and since its inception in 2005, it has attracted thousands of wine professionals from across the United States as well as more than 200 Texas’ Best Sommelier competitors from throughout the state.

The speakers and judges constitute a who’s who list of the nation’s top wine professionals: Master Sommeliers (MS), Certified Wine Educators (CWE), Masters of Wine (MW) and other respected wine educators and sommeliers.

In addition to laying claim to the title of “Texas’ Best Sommelier,” Ota received a $2,500 scholarship from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. Luis LaTorre from Spec’s in Dallas landed second place and a $1,500 scholarship, while James Watkins of Cordúa Restaurants in Houston placed third and received a $1,000 scholarship.

Master Sommelier and TEXSOM Co-founder James Tidwell said, “we created this event to serve our local community, and in doing so, we inadvertently attracted top talent from across the world because TEXSOM is unique.  No other conference integrates all levels of the business and welcomes the public like this one does.”  
Highlights of this year’s TEXSOM conference lineup included courses and tastings ranging from varietal focuses on Merlot with Fred Dame MS and Jay James MS as well as Nebbiolo with Bobby Stuckey MS (Frasca Food and Wine) and Shelley Lindgren (A16; SPQR); a regional focus on Etna in Sicily with Craig Collins MS (Dalla Terre) and Devon Broglie MS (Whole Foods Market); building a well-rounded beer program with Melissa Monosoff MS (Pinoeer Wine Company) and Andrew McNamara MS (Premier Beverage Company); and a two-part “state of the industry” panel with Rajat Parr (Michael Mina Group; Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte wines), John Ragan MS (Union Square Hospitality Group), Charles Banks (Terroir Capital), Melissa Monosoff MS, Christy Canterbury MW, Bernie Sun (Jean-Georges Group).

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

Sponsors include:

(Co-presenting) Guild of Sommeliers and The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas 

(Platinum-level) Republic National Distributing Company, Washington State Wine, C. Milan Communications, Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas, Las Colinas Beverages, Glazer’s, Fortessa, Classic Wine Storage and Services, Favorite Brands, Constellation Brands, Becky Wasserman Selection, Classified Wine Imports

(Gold-level) Arista Winery, Broadbent, Irving Conventions & Visitors Bureau, In Pursuit of Balance, C. Donatiello Winery, Chianti Classico, Paul Hobbs Wines, Benovia Winery, Siduri, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Texas Monthly, Chappellet, Govino, Rathbone Wine Group

(Silver-level) Whole Foods Market, Renaissance Wine Marketing, The Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, Jorge Ordoñez, Empson USA, Esprit Du Vin, Treasury Wine Estates, Diageo Chateau & Estates, Coquerel Wines, Terlato Wines, Huneeus Vintners, Wilson Daniels, Banville & Jones Wine Merchants, Stemmler Wines, Texas Sideshow, Taste Texas Wines, The Cultured Cup

(Bronze-level) Adobe Road Winery, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Ambiente, Austrian Wine, Aveníu Brands, Baxter, Bending Branch Winery, Bespoke Collection, Cape Classics, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Copain Wines, Delectatio, Duchman Family Winery, Ehlers Estate, Emeritus, Ernest Vineyards, Fisher Vineyards, Franciacorta, Fredrick Wildman & Sons, Frias Family Vineyard, Hahn Family Wines, Hanzell, Hiatus Cellars, Hope Family Wines, Iron Horse Vineyards, La Cigale, Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards, Long Meadow Ranch, Louis Latour, Miner Family Vineyards, Moet Hennessy USA, Old Bridge Cellars, Opus One, Patz & Hall, Penfolds, Premium Port Wines, RdV Vineyards, Revana Family Vineyard, Reynolds Family Winery, Serendipity Wines, Spire Collection, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Staglin Family Vineyard, Stark Advantage, Terroir Selections, The Hess Collection, Trefethen Family Vineyards, Vine Street Imports, Vineyard Brands, Winebow, ZD Wines