Education Programs & Support
Texas Sommelier Conference ($175,000 awarded to date)
The Foundation provides annual support for this two-day, educational conference for both wine industry leaders and the community at large. The conference also supports the ‘Texas Best Sommelier’ competition. This gathering is the largest of its kind in Texas and was created to bring together international leaders in the wine industry and provide an intensive forum and opportunity for high-quality continuing education.
Foundation sponsored events
Stephan Pyles Scholarship Cook-off
Austin/Dallas/Houston/San Antonio, Texas
This challenging and prestigious statewide cook-off determines the winner of the $15,000 Stephan Pyles culinary scholarship awarded annually by the Foundation. Named for legendary Dallas Chef Stephan Pyles, the competition is in its eleventh year. Though closed to the public, the scholarship is promoted to culinary students throughout Texas and is promoted by the media through a partnership with Time Warner. The competition is rotated between Texas culinary schools. Estimated attendance: N/A – press conference
Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship ($192,000 awarded to date)
Named for the world-renowned Dallas Chef, author and entrepreneur, the Stephan Pyles $15,000 scholarship is one of the largest culinary scholarships in the country. It is awarded to the winner of a rigorous two-day, cook-off requiring student finalists to create a 3-course menu utilizing a list of “Texas ingredients.” The two runner-up receive $1000 each.
Recognizing the need for a pastry-specific scholarship, the Foundation launched is pastry scholarship program in the spring of 2008. Similar to the Pyles scholarship and named for a different Texas pastry chef each year, three student finalists are presented with four challenging items to prepare. The winner receives a $5,000 scholarship. The two runner-up receive $1000 each.
The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas inspires innovation and excellence in food and wine through its annual competitive Grants Awards Program for creative projects in the wine or food industry. In its eleven years, the Foundation has awarded over $1,000,000 to a number of worthy charitable causes.
The Foundation provided support for wine and food programming on Austin’s public television station, KLRU-TV, home of the legendary Austin City Limits and winner of the nation’s highest artistic honor, the National Medal of Arts.
Sustainable Food Center ($20,000)
The Foundation provided support for innovative programs to promote fresh, locally grown produce and healthy eating patterns. Programs included farmers’ markets and school-based nutrition projects.
Texas No Kid Hungry ($15,000)
The Foundation provided support for to help end childhood hunger in the state of Texas by 2015. Texas No Kid Hungry seeks to develop and implement strategies to end hunger through policy, education, community organizing, and community development.
Texas Cooperative Extension ($20,000)
Ed Hellman, PhD is a Viticulture Extension Specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension and holds a joint appointment with Texas Tech University. Hellman, a long-time researcher and a national leader in viticulture, and the Texas Cooperative Extension were awarded $20,000 for renovations of a state-of-the-science viticulture and enology research facility at the Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Lubbock. As the Associate Professor of Viticulture, Hellman recognizes the rapid speed at which the Texas wine industry is growing and the need for expanding research facilities to accommodate the new enology program.
Grape MD ($21,000)
Ed Hellman, PhD is a Viticulture Extension Specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension and holds a joint appointment with Texas Tech University. Dr. Hellman developed, with the Foundation’s assistance, a web-based system that allows grape growers to take quick action to protect crops when first signs of disease appear. The program was the first of its kind and will be implemented nationwide.
Wine Roads of Texas ($25,000)
The Foundation was the inaugural underwriter for The Wine Roads of Texas, produced by award-winning producer and director Tom Spencer, based upon Wes Marshall’s book on the Texas wine industry.
Nolan Ryan Foundation ($30,000)
The Foundation held an annual event over four years with half of the proceeds benefitting the Nolan Ryan Foundation
Jane Nickels, Author ($5,000)
Jane Nickels, a prominent and highly decorated wine educator, was awarded a grant to write a follow up to her successful book, Wine 101, entitled The Art of Wine.
Mexic-Arte Museum ($2,500)
Founded in 1984 by three Mexican artists, the Mexic-Arte museum is one of only four museums in the United States dedicated to Mexican and Mexican-American art. A Foundation grant helped the museum research, design, develop and produce a new digital educational program for children entitled, Gift of the Gods, to educate children about the history and ancestry of Mexican-American cuisine.