REGISTRATION OPEN: Taste of Italy, BBQ & Chianti, Houston Sommelier Competition 3/13-14.

Above: the winners of the Houston Sommelier Competition in 2019, the first and only year of the event to date. At the time, it was known as the Houston Awesomm Sommelier Competition and was only open to Houston-based wine professionals. It’s now open to anyone who would like to compete (except for full-fledged members of the Court of Sommeliers).

Registration for the Taste of Italy, March 13-14 in Houston, the largest food and wine trade fair in the U.S. devoted exclusively to Italian products, is now open!

Click here to register for seminars, tastings, and grand tasting.

This year’s gathering includes: the Houston Sommelier Competition; a seminar on sustainable wine from Umbria with Steven McDonald MS and writer Dale Robertson (open to trade); a seminar on pairing Texas BBQ with Chianti (open to trade and consumers) featuring pit master Ara Malekian, Italian wine expert Tom Dobson (Spec’s), and food writer Eric Sandler (CultureMap); and the grand tasting all day on Monday, March 14 at the Hilton Houston Post Oak.

The winner of the Houston Sommelier Competition will receive a $750 stipend and a fully sponsored trip to Vinitaly, the annual Italian wine trade fair in Verona. The runner up will receive a stipend of $750. The second runner up will receive $500.

This year’s testing is open to any and all sommeliers, from anywhere in the world, except for full-fledged members of the Court of Sommeliers.

The Texas Wine School will also be offering to waive course fees for two candidates beyond the runners up. These awards will be made on the basis of testing results, the candidates’ resumés, and financial need.

Texas BBQ and Chianti is the one seminar open to consumers. It’s the fair’s most popular event and will sell out quickly. Be sure to register to ensure availability.

All the seminars will be moderated by me.

I’ve been working as a consultant with the Italy-American Chamber of Commerce since the second year of the fair. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career: connecting Italian food and wine producers with trade professionals in my adoptive hometown and state.

For many years now, our office of the chamber (South Central) has been rated the number one office in all of North America (sorry, New York!). I’m really proud of the great work we do.

I hope you can join us! Thanks for checking it out and thanks for loving Italian food and wine!

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