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Meet the Members: Stephanie Simpson, Board President

Stephanie Simpson, President of the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas Board of Directors, has been a member of WFFT since 2013 and a member of the Board and Executive Committee since 2014. Simpson is the Vice President of the Texas Association of Manufacturers where she oversees the operations and legislative affairs, and runs the Manufacturers Political Action Committee of Texas (MPACT). She was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Abilene, KS. She attended Kansas State University for her undergraduate degree and earned her MBA at St. Edwards University in Austin. We asked Simpson to share her favorite things about wine, food, and WFFT with us. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite WFFT event? Why?

My favorite WFFT event is Big Reds & Bubbles. It’s such a fun kickoff to the holiday season.

Why should someone become a member of WFFT?

I would encourage people to become a member because of the “community” of folks with a shared interest in wine and food. It truly is what you make of it. I’ve made some lifelong friends through WFFT and feel fortunate to get to experience so many things with this community.

What is your favorite wine region and your most memorable experience when visiting?

It’s so hard to pick just one…but I do LOVE Napa. It’s where I first got interested in wine, so it holds a special place for me and my love of wine. But I also LOVE Spain. I did my capstone for grad school in Spain. Every night I would grab a bottle of wine and a baguette while I worked on my project. I was more interested in learning about the wine in Spain than I was about preparing an exportation plan for the Spanish tile industry. There’s something nostalgic about both of those regions for me.

What is your “go-to” wine? What is your “special occasion” wine? Why?

My “go to” wine right now is a Scheid Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino. They’re getting me through this hot summer. As far as “special occasion” wine, I think anytime you get to share wine with friends it’s a special occasion. I’m all about the experience being special. You can always find something to celebrate.

What is the rarest wine you have enjoyed? What was the occasion?

The rarest wine I’ve every enjoyed was at a Spanish wine dinner at Trio. We had Verdelho 1898 Madiera and a 1904 Madiera. Such a cool experience to get to taste something that old.

What excites you most about wine? What challenges you most? Why?

The technical side of wine is where I tend to geek out. To know the details of what went into a bottle of wine from the vine to the barrel to the bottle. I’m fascinated by how one grape varietal can take on so many distinctive characteristics. I’m not one that can call out notes of a wine – it’s hard for me to articulate in “wine speak” what I like or don’t enjoy about a wine. I mean, I haven’t eaten a decaying leaf, so that description is lost on me.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Austin and what is your favorite dish to order?

It’s hard for me to pick one favorite restaurant because I have favorite dishes at so many different places. We are fortunate here in Austin to have the culinary talent and creativity – so picking one restaurant is impossible.