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Aug. 27, 2013

Master Sommelier James Tidwell sporting some Amavi Cellars sunglasses during TEXSOM!
When I look back at my journals from the last several years, the second or third week in August always expresses the same bittersweet sentiment, in exactly the same verbiage: "TEXSOM withdrawals :( "

The 9th annual TEXSOM conference wrapped up a week ago.  What is TEXSOM, you ask?  It is THE conference for industry folks like me to taste wines, learn from the best in the industry, make new friends and reconnect with old ones.  It's a time and place to be reminded of how lucky we are to be in this business.  Whereas most wine conventions are geared primarily toward the everyday wine enthusiast, TEXSOM is designed for wine professionals first.  It has become a ritual for me, as constant on my calendar as Thanksgiving or Christmas.  In my professional life, it serves as a kick off for the fall selling season.  Held each year in mid-August, it reminds me that MY summer is coming to a close.  The craziest months of the year for me are September and October.  Not only are we caught up in the throes of harvest-- but it is also the time when wine shops and restaurants are gearing up for the onslaught of the holiday shopping season when people buy more wine for holiday celebrations and gifts.  Thousands of winery folks like me criss-cross the country, dragging rolling wine bags, lining up to meet with sommeliers, wine shop owners, and other wine-program managers to show off our juice (as we often call it) and seek out attention from them during the holiday season.  I also spend a lot of time tasting with servers.  It is my hope that they will recommend one of our wines because they've tried it recently, genuinely like it, and because they understand how it will pair with food.

A huge majority of sommeliers/wine buyers do not care about scores - they want to experience the wine for themselves before recommending it to a customer.  Others have reviewers they love and reviewers they hate.  So just walking in with a big score does not mean a sale.  The proof has to be there in the bottle, day in and day out, vintage to vintage. I thank my business partners, particularly Pepper Bridge Winery Managing Partner Norm McKibben and Amavi Cellars Managing Partner Ray Goff for their commitment to excellence and broad shoulders to stand upon.  I never have to make excuses for the wines I present.  The wine speaks for itself once I get people to taste it.

I write this as I sit at the bar at Bouchon in Vegas, waiting in line to taste with the always pleasant Mr. Peterson, who will be visiting Walla Walla for the first time next month. The wines I am presenting over the next three days are the Amavi Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2011 Syrah.


Favorite wine, day 1:  Amavi Syrah
Favorite wine, day 2:  Amavi cab
Favorite wine, day 3:  Amavi cab

I promise to write more about my experience at Texsom soon...


View the TEXSOM website here:
View the Bouchon: Las Vegas website here:

Pictured Above: Master Sommelier James Tidwell (TEXSOM co-founder; Beverage Manager/sommelier at Four Seasons - Dallas) sporting a pair of Amavi Cellars sunglasses over the course of TEXSOM.