Dale Robertson (Chronicle) reports on “invalidation” of Steven McDonald’s Master Sommelier title

Steven McDonald (above) became Houston’s fifth Master Sommelier last month after successfully completing the blind tasting portion of the exam in St. Louis.

This week, the Court of Master Sommeliers “invalidated” his title and those of 22 others who had also passed the exam because it discovered that someone cheated during the tasting portion.

Dale Roberton tells the story in a post published yesterday by the Houston Chronicle, including quotes from Steven and some of Houston’s current Master Sommeliers.

The whole Houston wine community is rooting for Steven, one of its most beloved and talented members.


Iron Sommelier is looking for volunteers

From the Periwinkle Foundation newsletter.

Iron Sommelier 2018, Presented by AUTOSOL, is just around the corner and we need your help! We are looking for more than 40 volunteers to help at our one of a kind wine tasting and
sommelier competition!

Volunteers Needed
Iron Sommelier
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Shift One
(21 Volunteers – Check In and Auctions)
4:00 pm to 8:00pm

Shift Two
(20 Volunteers – Auctions and Check Out)
7:00 pm to 11:00pm

The Houstonian Hotel
111 North Post Oak Lane
Houston, TX 77024

*Please note: you must be at least 21 years of age to volunteer at this event*

If you know someone who may be interested in volunteering at this event please contact me directly at,

For more information about the event,
please visit

Best Regards,

Erin Overhouse Locke
Community Programs Director
The Periwinkle Foundation

Houston Sommelier Association: “Boy do we have an exciting October planned!!”

Copied and pasted from the Houston Sommelier Association’s e-letter. Email info@houstonsommeliers.com to join the list.

Boy do we have an exciting October planned!!

A vineyard’s altitude has a great impact on the end result of a wine. At higher altitude the temperature is cooler. A rule of thumb is that 100 metres makes a difference of 1 degree Centigrade. The winery Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza in Argentina has vineyards at several different locations, up to around 1500 meters above sea level. Who better to illustrate the high altitude effect than someone with an intimate knowledge of these vineyards?

Ernesto (Nesti) Bajda started working in the Catena family’s vineyards in 2002. In 2005 he joined the research team to work on microvinifications to determine the best places in the family’s high-altitude vineyards. Now with more than a dozen vintages behind him, Nesti not only has expertise in research and vineyard management, but he also has a unique knowledge of the precision tools to identify variability in vineyards, which is what he believes are the key to achieving outstanding wines.

See y’all tomorrow!

See y’all Wednesday at The Art of Cellaring located at 2301 Portsmouth St. Street parking is available as well as in the lot across the street. Please plan to be on time as the doors here will lock at 10:30AM to reduce interruption and distraction out of respect for our speakers. Remember, EARLY IS ON TIME!! Professional attire is encouraged… please.

Also… please keep in mind that we are all doing this on a volunteer basis (no one is being paid for this) Please stick around to help clean up… Polishing glasses and resetting the space. It takes a village.. 😄


October 10, 2018
David Keck, MS on Climates of Cotes de Nuit & Minervois with wines from Anne Gros

October 24, 2018
Wines of Setubal

October 31, 2018
Expanding the world of Sake

Wine and Chiles en Nogada Pairing September 30

Event Name: Wine and Chiles en Nogada Pairing

Event Link: http://www.pauliesrestaurant.com/camerata/

Date: September 30, 2018

Time: 4 pm

Location/Venue: Camerata at Paulie’s
1830 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Cost: $30 for Chiles en Nogada; wine served on first come first served basis

Event Description: Stop by Camerata at Paulie’s on Sunday, September 30th from 5-8 pm, to enjoy a wine pairing event with Cuchara Restaurant, highlighting the Mexican dish, Chiles en Nogada. Enjoy the evening learning about Chiles and its perfect wine pairing, while listening to a Mexican guitar trio.

Invented in the town of Puebla and considered to be Mexico’s national dish, Chiles en Nogada consists of the colors of the Mexican flag – red, white and green – and originated around the time of Mexican independence.

Registration Telephone: 8322287926

Registration Email: ciao@pauliesrestaurant.com

Houston Sommelier Association: Competition opportunities available

The following comes via the Houston Sommelier Association e-letter.

Email info@houstonsommeliers.com to be added to the list.

HERE IT IS, GANG!!! Two Great Opportunities.

A chance to win a grand prize of a one week Wine Internship in Burgundy, France with a renowned wine professional, like Burgundy Wine Writer Allen Meadows of Burghound! Yes, it is that time! On Sunday, January 27th, 2019 at The AT&T Hotel & Conference Center in Austin, Texas, the 2019 Somms Under Fire Competition will challenge 3 top Sommeliers to prove their “Perfect Pairing” skills in front of a lively audience and a Judges Panel. The competition is open for entry to all Beverage Industry Professionals, or any person who is currently employed in the beverage industry for a restaurant, retailer, distributor or supplier, except for someone attaining the highest level of certification by their governing body, like MS or MW.

Professionals can submit preliminary Entry information and a $25 non-refundable entry fee to enter no later than Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11 PM Central Standard Time. Upon completing Entry information, entrants will receive information on the testing window that will begin on Saturday, September 22nd, and ends on Monday, October 1st at 11:00 pm CST. This test is a 30 minute timed online test, which offers a good knowledge-based testing opportunity for the entrant. The test will determine three final contestants, as well as three alternates for the final competition. More information can be found on http://keepercollection.com/somms-under-fire. In addition to this being a professional growth experience for the final competitors, it also offers some promotion for their company/employer as this event is promoted by many over social media.

The three final contestants will conduct on-site wine and food pairing challenges in front of a Judges panel of Industry Professionals. All wine and food items will be presented at the time of the competition, not prior to the event. Details of each challenge will be announced on-site immediately preceding the competition. Contestants will be notified if he/she needs to bring any equipment, tools, or other items needed to complete the challenges. Contestant performance of each challenge will be judged on quality of pairing selection (40%; 0-20 pts), educational presentation (20%; 0-10 pts), service (20%; 0-10 pts), and originality of pairing (20%; 1-10 pts).

Win a trip to Portugal!

The SOMMJournal and Wines of Portugal invite you to apply for your spot in the Wines of Portugal Sommelier of the Year Competition! Ten lucky sommeliers in five cities will get their chance to go head-to-head testing their Portuguese wine know-how, and one winner from each city will win the title and a trip to Portugal!

Visit http://www.sommjournal.com/portugal to enter

The competition is being held in Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston.

The Houston competition will be held at The Texas Wine School on Sept 26.


October 3, 2018
Ernesto Bajda with Bodega Catena Zapata

October 10, 2018
David Keck, MS on Climates of Cotes de Nuit & Minervois with wines from Anne Gros

October 24, 2018
Wines of Setubal

October 31, 2018
Expanding the world of Sake

Congratulations, Steven McDonald, Houston’s newest Master Sommelier!

Check out this profile of Steven for the Houston Chronicle by Dale Robertson:

The Houston “chapter” of Master Sommeliers, whose members are part of the most prestigious club in the world for those who sell and serve wine professionally, grew to five Wednesday [September 5] when Pappas Bros. Steakhouse wine director Steven McDonald was among 24 aspirants from around the country to pass their final exams at the Four Seasons Resort in St. Louis.

McDonald joins his Houston Pappas Bros.’ colleague Jack Mason, David Keck of Goodnight Hospitality, Guy Stout of the Southern Glazer’s distributing company and Keith Goldston, who moved to Houston about a year ago to open Mastro’s Steakhouse. Stout, who achieved MS status in 2005, is considered the godfather of the local group and has been one of McDonald’s mentors through years of grueling study and several near-misses. Not for nothing is it called the “world’s toughest test” for oenophiles.

Click here to continue reading.