#RidgeSomms: The Powers of Austin!

Great restaurants are of a place.

They are an integral component in their regional eco-culinary oeno-system.

They cannot, and should not, be considered separate – or separately – from their immediate environment.

They are a thread in fabric, a note on a stave, a rhyme in a line, a dab on a canvas, a soul amongst the ten thousand things.

And we hold these truths to be self-evident.

Yet the times, are they a-changin’?

Consider the rise of the celebrity chef, the ever-expanding dominance of the chains, the collective post-globalist homogenization of the cultural landscape.

What does all this potentially mean for the great restaurants of place?


One of the most pleasurable aspects of my #RidgeSomms pre-event research has been the opportunity to explore the restaurants and regions of origin for our guests, and what I have found time and time again is that the great restaurants of place are not only not going extinct, they are in fact thriving.

This seems, more often than that, to be continually made most possible by the passions of, and the support for, homegrown talent. Local boys and girls are growin’ up culinary, and they’re finding homes in their home cities, counties, states, and regions.

One of the most outstanding examples of this is June Rodil. She’s Texas, she’s Austin, and she’s awesome.

And because her story has SO MUCH to do with Texas, and with Austin, who better to help us learn her story than a Texas wine blogger?

And with that, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you: SAHMmelier!

After spending years in the classroom, Stay-at Home-Mom Alissa Leenher combined her love of education and wine and started SAHMmelier.  Now, between the laundry and dishes, Alissa dishes about wine, food, local events, usually seasoned with a pinch of introspection and all things SAHM.  Although she does not have formal Sommelier training, she enjoys learning about the industry while attempting to juggle all that her husband, daughter, and son throw at her. It is no wonder why she enjoys a glass, or two, of wine. Originally from Upstate New York, Alissa resides in Austin, Texas.

Alissa epitomizes the passionate Citizen Blogger cynosure, to be sure, but she also brings true journalistic discipline to her oeno-literary endeavors, and she’s drawn on all this and more to bring together a fantastic post highlighting June Rodil, and her new restaurant venture in Austin: Qui.


Here is an excerpt from the SAHMmelier post on June Rodil:

From the Driskill, she went to Uchi to work under Tyson Cole, another star in Austin and in the national realm.  She then returned to fine dining with David Bull at his next endeavor, Congress.  So where does one go from there?  To work with Top Chef winner Paul Qui, of course.

Qui, which will open this Spring, is one of the most anticipated restaurants in Austin right now.  Paul is currently involved in East Side Kings, which will continue serving creative cuisine to the trailer crowd.  Qui will take it up a notch (or three) with his flagship restaurant.  Rodil will be in charge of pairing his eclectic menu with wines and spirits.

June Rodil is no stranger to awards.  She’s been named “Texas’s Best Sommelier” by Texas Sommelier Association, Rising Star Sommelier, and Best New Sommelier in 2011 by the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas.  This month, she has also been chosen, along with eleven other Sommeliers, to attend the 2013 Sommelier Symposium at Ridge Vineyards.

To read the full post, please click here: May Looks Great For June.

And to find June Rodil in the Social-Sphere, check her -and Qui- out on Twitter:




We’re absolutely thrilled that June will be joining us for #RidgeSomms, and we can’t thank Alissa enough for helping us to get an authentic sense of where June is -quite literally- coming from.

If June and Alissa are any indication of the true  oeno-culinary Powers of Austin on offer in the Lone Star State, then all of us at Ridge Vineyards are sure to be raising a true Texas Toast come Monday!


And with that, we invite you to join June Rodil and all the other luminaries that make up the cast of #RidgeSomms, for an extraordinary two days of all things Ridge, and wine, and food, and Ridge!




Ridge Vineyards Sommelier Symposium, 2013



May 20th & 21st, 2013



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Just filter for #RidgeSomms, and you’re IN!

Categories: Business of Wine, Events, Food & Wine Pairing, Offerings, Press Reviews, Social Media, Tasting Events/Opportunities, Virtual Verticals, Wine Blogs, Wine Quotes, Wine Tales, Winemaking

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1 reply

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words and the opportunity to write. Austin is a special place indeed. If you ever make it here I’d love to toast with some Texas wine! Cheers!

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