On Monday night, Joelle Cousins, general manager and sommelier of Red Room Lounge, was crowned Texas’ Best Sommelier, the sixth winner from Austin in the past 10 years. Austin sommeliers placed first and third in the competition held at TEXSOM, one of the world’s most prominent wine education conferences.
Cousins excelled among 25 competitors (including seven others from Austin) in a grueling exam involving proper fine dining service, blind tasting and wine knowledge. She received a scholarship of $2,500 from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program.
“I’m thrilled to receive this honor,” said Cousins. “I attribute my success to an incredibly strong and collaborative sommelier community is Austin. We are dedicated to helping each other continually learn more about wine and how we can provide the best possible experience for our customers. It’s great to be able to study with like-minded people who are dedicated to making the wine scene in Austin be the best.”
Rene Fagoaga of the Four Seasons Hotel Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas was the runner up. Austin's Nathan Fausti of Arro Restaurant, came in third place.
Cousins joins five Austin sommeliers — Devon Broglie, Mark Sayre, June Rodil, Bill Elsey and Scott Ota — who have previously won the coveted prize.