Growing up in a food-centric family, Drew Hendricks remembers going out to dinner more often than not. Growing up around the oil business and the young Texan learned to appreciate haute cuisine at a very early age. However, he was not immediately drawn to the food and beverage industry. Instead, his military education inspired him to enlist in the United States Army at age eighteen. Drew thrived in the military environment, finding purpose in its structure and appreciating the contribution he was making to his country – and, more personally, to his family’s long history of military service.
While in the Army, Drew was stationed in Germany, where he rediscovered his love of food. During his off hours, he explored the country – its cuisine, wine, beers, and cigars – and began to realize how much he appreciated all things food and wine. When he returned to Houston following his military service, he enrolled in the city’s Art Institute, but found himself more intrigued by his job working as a line cook at a local restaurant. After a long day working at the restaurant, he and his colleagues would relax with a few bottles of burgundy, and so began his love affair with wine. Drew dedicated an increasing amount of his time to the study of wine, reading everything he could get his hands on and tasting as many different wines as possible.
Realizing that wine was where his heart was, Drew accepted a distribution job at Glaser’s, stocking shelves in grocery stores. Given his clear affinity for the industry, it was not long until he became a salesman for Glaser’s, ultimately working in their fine wine division. It was at Glaser’s where he met Master Guy Stout, who encouraged him to pursue the Court of Master Sommeliers’ educational programs. Under Master Stout’s mentorship, Drew flew through the Court’s programs, passing his Master’s Exam in 2008.
Following his time at Glaser’s, Master Hendricks worked for a small local distributor, and then moved to Pappas Restaurants, Inc., where he ran the wine program at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse for three years. From there, he went to work for Charlie Palmer, opening the Dallas branch of his award winning restaurant. After its successful launch, Master Hendricks returned to Pappas Restaurants as their corporate wine director, where he remains today.
Since deciding to pursue a professional career in the wine industry, Master Hendricks has amassed an impressive list of accolades in a very short time, including second place at the National Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommelier Finals competition and first place at the 2007 International Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommelier Competition. Wine and Spirits magazine named Hendricks a “Best New Sommelier” in 2005 (by viktor at testsforge). Wine Spectator awarded the “Grand Award” Recognizing the challenges facing young people interested in wine, he is also the co-founder and a board member of the Texas Sommelier Association, which hosts the annual Texas Sommelier Conference to promote wine education throughout the South.