The annual TEXSOM conference is considered by many to be the most prominent and influential wine trade education conference in the U.S., offering seminars, networking opportunities and rare chances to taste premium wines from around the world. The conference boasts an impressive list of attendees including sommeliers, retail wine buyers, distributor/importer executives and sales reps, Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, consumer and trade media, wine educators and producers from all over the world. Read OWB’s recap and impressions of the 2016 conference.
The OWB participated as a sponsor at the TEXSOM Conference for the first time this year.
On Saturday, Aug. 12 the Oregon Wine Board hosted a lunch for the 150 TEXSOM volunteer sommeliers that were there to help with wine service and logistics at the conference. Volunteers must apply and be selected by TEXSOM conference organizers for their professionalism and wine service experience. The majority were fine wine restaurant buyers studying for the Court of Master Sommelier exams and came from all over the country including key markets for Oregon wine such as Chicago, Atlanta, Florida and Texas.
At the lunch, OWB education manager Bree Boskov MW gave a ten minute overview of Oregon’s diverse climates and geology through the lens of eight white wines of different varieties from the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon. Each lunch guest received a folder with tech sheets on the following topics:
- Oregon Wine Overview
- Industry History
- Columbia Gorge
- Southern Oregon
- Walla Walla Valley
- Willamette Valley
All of the tech sheets can be downloaded from the Oregon Wine Resource Studio.
Guests also received a Liberty water bottle with a map of Oregon’s 18 AVAs. One sommelier from Seattle remarked that it was the nerdiest water bottle he’s ever owned. (We’ll take that as a compliment!) They also had the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a six pack of Zalto wine glasses, which resulted in a collection of rich contact information – two thirds of attendees participated. OWB will continue to engage with this group of influential trade members by folding them into our trade marketing communications platforms, including the new trade newsletter.
One TEXSOM volunteer, a buyer at a fine dining restaurant in Washington, D.C., who attended the lunch wrote to us after the event to say, “The support of OWB at TEXSOM had such a lasting impact on the volunteers at TEXSOM this year. Thank you so much for continuing to inspire us to love these wines even more than we already do (if that’s even possible)!”
Sign Up for the Grand Tasting Waiting List
The best way for a small winery to get involved at TEXSOM is to pour at the Grand Tasting on the last night of the conference. Oregon wineries Alexana, Rex Hill, Adelsheim Vineyard and Left Coast Cellars poured at the tasting this year. However, according to TEXSOM organizers, there is a substantial wait list of wineries who would like to get involved in the Grand Tasting. If you are interested in being added to the wait list you can email TEXSOM.
Submit Wines to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards
One recommended way for your winery to get involved in TEXSOM is to participate in the TEXSOM International Wine Awards. The judging for this competition takes place in February and highly awarded wines are showcased at the TEXSOM Conference in August. TEXSOM International Wine Awards will begin accepting wine submissions at the beginning of October. Additional information on the Awards and how to submit wines will go out in the Grapevine newsletter at the end of September. Last year, Oregon doubled its representation in this awards program and it would be great to continue that growth in 2018.
Stay In Touch
The Oregon Wine Board is exploring additional opportunities to involve more brands at TEXSOM in 2018. If your winery is interested in learning more about TEXSOM or potentially interested in participating next year please contact Christina DeArment. Note: per conference guidelines, wines poured at TEXSOM must be available through a distributor in Texas.