One of Houston's most well-regarded wine professionals has earned a coveted title. Camerata wine director David Keck attained the title of Master Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers on Wednesday.
As chronicled in the documentary Somm, achieving the title is a painstaking process. Candidates must pass rigorous tests that demonstrate their knowledge of wine theory, service, and the dreaded blind tasting. Overall, fewer than 250 people around the world have obtained the title, and, as of today, only eight work in Texas.
Keck becomes Houston's second Master Sommelier, after Guy Stout of wine distribution company Glazer's. While Stout does teach classes occasionally, Keck interacts with the public almost daily, and his desire to learn as much as possible about wine has helped both diners and peers.
CultureMap has contacted Keck to learn more about what his achievement means for him both personally and professionally but has yet to receive a response (he's probably celebrating). In the meantime, he did offer some thoughts last September about the state of Houston's wine community as the restaurant scene has exploded over the past five years.
"We're needing more wine professionals," Keck said. "I think we have more support (from customers) than we have wine lists to support our guests. More often than not, I have guests asking where they can go to drink, and the list is still pretty short, unfortunately. I think anybody in the wine business would agree with that. I'm not in any way disparaging my colleagues. I think there are wonderful lists and wonderful people in town. We just have a lot of freaking clients. We have a lot of guests in Houston who are looking for every independent restaurant to have a well-currated list, and we're not there, yet. It's cool. We have a lot of opportunity."
With Keck's achievement and a number of sommeliers working their way up the ranks, the situation looks poised to improve, and Houston wine lovers will be the happy beneficiaries.