Austin has a reputation for its excellent food and wine scene. That status is continually bolstered with prestigious awards. To add to the growing list of accolades, Nathan Fausti, sommelier at Olive & June, was crowned the 2015 TexSom Best Sommelier at the 11th annual Texas Sommeliers Conference (TexSom) held at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.
Fausti is the seventh sommelier from Austin to win the coveted award in the past 11 years. He placed third in last year’s competition. Fausti excelled among 23 other competitors (including two others from Austin) in a demanding three-part wine test involving proper fine dining service, a written exam and a blind tasting. In his acceptance speech, he credited his study group with Scott Ota and Nathan Prater for his successful preparation.
This was the first year that competition included candidates from outside Texas with entrants from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico who have not yet attained the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier certification.
Fausti will soon take the helm as sommelier at Bullfight, a new Parkside Projects restaurant slated to open later this month. He received a scholarship of $2,500 from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program.
“This year, we opened the competition to sommeliers from adjoining states. Increasingly, the influence of TEXSOM reaches well beyond the borders of Texas, so we felt it was time to include a potentially larger group to participate,” said TEXSOM Co-founder James Tidwell. “We offer hearty congratulations to Nathan for winning the competition this year, and look forward to next year’s competition.”
David Donalson of Goody Goody Liquor in Dallas, Texas was the runner up and will receive a $1,500 scholarship. The third place winner was Luis La Torre of Spec’s Fine Wines in Dallas.
Fausti joins six Austin sommeliers — Joelle Cousins, Devon Broglie, Mark Sayre, June Rodil, Bill Elsey and Scott Ota — who have previously won the coveted prize.
This story was originally published on CultureMap.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary media pass to attend 2015 TexSom.