In 2014, the TEXSOM spirit of camaraderie and community expanded from an annual conference and sommelier competition to include a wine awards of international scope. TEXSOM took over the already successful and well-respected Dallas Morning News Wine Competition from founder Rebecca Murphy and changed the name to TEXSOM International Wine Awards (IWA). The first wine awards under the new ownership included an expansion of the judging team, a first-of-its-kind Sommelier Retreat, and publication of Sommelier, TEXSOM’S first publication. The years since have seen the competition grow in number and diversity of entries, recognition of reputation, reach of results with beverage industry professionals, and now includes spirits and non-alcoholic wines. TEXSOM Awards has a global quality standard and is recognized as the most selective competition in the United States due to the roster of international judges who participate.
In conjunction with the TEXSOM Awards, the TEXSOM Retreat continues the spirit of community building and learning while offering top beverage professionals a unique opportunity to enhance engagement with the TEXSOM Awards production team, winery, distillery, and importer entrants, and the submitted wines and spirits. Key buyers from across the United States participate in mentored blind tastings, educational seminars, and trainings utilizing wine and spirits awards entrants from current and past competitions and categories of notable presence in the competition. Immediately after judges evaluate entries, TEXSOM Retreat members taste medal-winning beverages and create written “stories” from the professional perspective for feature online and in print. Retreat participants are mentored in communication and writing by an editor team of noted journalists and in knowledge and skills by a cadre of Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, and other wine industry subject area specialists.
Through these and other initiatives in development, TEXSOM fosters relationships, facilitates learning, encourages critical thinking, and advances the industry with a look to the future while embracing deep gratitude for all who have committed time, effort, and resources to the mission, especially for those who first believed in the vision from the beginning.