Best Sommelier in Houston Competition Feb. 24-25: applications now being accepted

For more than four years, I’ve been working as a media consultant for the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas (recently ranked the top chamber in North America and eighth in the world).

Our marquee event each year is the Taste of Italy food and wine festival, the largest trade fair devoted exclusively to Italian enogastronomy in the U.S.

Every year, one of Houston’s most beloved sommeliers, Jaime De Leon, coordinates our sommelier team through AweSomm — a wine study and support group for aspiring Advanced and Master Sommeliers here in Houston (above).

Last year, Jaime approached the chamber about creating a “Best Sommelier in Houston” competition to foster wine education in our city and provide resources for wine professionals (including prize money to be used for travel and study).

The first-ever competition will be held at this year’s Taste of Italy festival. Details follow. Please help us get the word out by sharing on social media. Thanks for your support.


On February 24-25, AweSomm will be hosting the first-ever “Best Sommelier in Houston” competition in association with the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas and its 5th annual Taste of Italy Houston festival and trade show.

To apply, please use the form below.

  • 20 Houston-based sommeliers will be invited to compete for the title of “Best Sommelier in Houston.”
  • Candidates must currently be working in Houston and must be “pre-Advanced” (in their Court of Master Sommeliers candidacy).
  • All competitors will be required to take a theory, service, and blind tasting exam.
  • Once the theory exam is completed, the 10 candidates with the top scores will be seated for the service and blind tasting exams.
  • Testing will take place at the Hilton Post Oak on Sunday, February 24. The winner and 2 runners up will be announced at the Taste of Italy festival Monday, February 25.
  • Master Sommelier Guy Stout (Southern-Glazers), Advanced Sommelier Brandon Kerne (Pappas Bros.), Advanced Sommelier James Watkins (Paul Hobbs Winery), and Cat Nguyen (Houston Sommelier Association founder) will serve as judges.
  • The winner will receive a $1,200 scholarship to apply to future studies; 2 runners up will receive $300 scholarships; all 10 finalists will be eligible for Italy-America Chamber sponsored trips to Italian wine country.

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