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Austinites recognized in Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Awards

Arianna Auber

A few notable Austinites have been recently recognized in two big awards given out by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Jessica Sanders of Drink.Well, Devon Broglie of Whole Foods and Tito’s Vodka have all been nominated for three different categories in the magazine’s Wine Star Awards, which “honor the individuals and companies that have made outstanding achievements in the wine and beverage world,” according to the article announcing the nominations. The winners of each category will be announced in Wine Enthusiast’s special Dec. 31 Wine Star Awards issue, and they’ll get to collect their trophies at a black-tie gala held on Jan. 26 in New York City.

Broglie, a master sommelier with Whole Foods, earned a nod in the sommelier category. He “started his career with Whole Foods Markets in the wine department of its Durham, North Carolina, store. Earning his master sommelier stripes in 2011, he serves as the company’s associate global beverage buyer at the company headquarters in Austin, Texas,” the magazine editors wrote.

Sanders is a mixologist/brand ambassador worth noting because she’s “dedicated to the craft of cocktails,” according to Wine Enthusiast. “Sanders manages the 37-seat pub (Drink.Well) with an emphasis on top-shelf hospitality, augmented by great drinks and food.”

And Tito’s Vodka just might be the distiller of the year come December. As Wine Enthusiast editors noted: “Produced in small batches at Austin, Texas’s first and oldest legal distillery, this craft vodka has become a favorite amongst mixologists and consumers alike. Founder Tito Beveridge was originally a geologist before he started bottling flavored vodka for friends as Christmas presents.”

(Tito’s was also in the Austin American-Statesman a couple days ago when a feature I wrote about their partnership with Emancipet was published. Consider the distillery as big a bunch of dog lovers as vodka fans.)

Another Wine Enthusiast award went to Brian Floyd, a bartender at a couple local spots including Rainey Street’s Half Step and the founder of the Barman’s Fund. He is one of the magazine’s 40 Under 40, primarily for his work with the Barman’s Fund, a motley assortment of bartenders from multiple cities who pledge one shift a month to nonprofits.

“The Fund — which has raised over $100,000 and has grown beyond Austin to New York City, New Orleans and Charlotte, North Carolina — organizes bartenders to pledge one shift each month for charitable organizations, ranging from homeless shelters to providers of camp scholarships,” Wine Enthusiast editors wrote.

But all that recognition won’t go to their heads — certainly not to Sanders’. “Obviously, it’s unbelieveably humbling to see your name listed alongside people who are truly trailblazers and are so well regarded in our industry,” she said. “I’m honored, of course, but the nomination is honestly a testament to the work that our entire bar staff at drink.well. does and the contributions I always want us to be making as a staff to the cocktail and hospitality culture in Austin.”