AUSTIN, TX (Aug. 3, 2011) — Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) today announced one of its wine buyers has earned the distinctive Master Sommelier rank. Devon Broglie, specialty coordinator for the Southwest region, is one of six new Master Sommeliers, joining a prestigious group of only 180 worldwide who have earned the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities and professionalism in the hospitality trade.

After a five-year stint in the restaurant industry and a year working in Spain for the pioneering winery Bodegas Costers del Siurana, Broglie joined Whole Foods Market in 2001.  Since then, Broglie has been a member of Whole Foods Market’s wine buying and specialty foods team.  Broglie won Texas’ Best Sommelier competition in 2006 by the Texas Sommelier Association (TEXSOM).  An active TEXSOM member, Broglie also serves on the board for the annual TEXSOM wine conference.

“Earning the Master Sommelier rank is the most notable and celebrated accomplishment among wine professionals, requiring hours of study and dedication,” said Doug Bell, global wine co-buyer for Whole Foods Market. “Devon’s tremendous passion for wine extends to his position at Whole Foods Market where he helps select excellent wines to put on our shelves and shares his knowledge and enthusiasm about wine with customers.”

According to the Court of Master Sommeliers, Broglie is one of the few Master Sommeliers to work for a national supermarket.  He joins only five other Master Sommeliers in Texas.

Austin-based Broglie is responsible for buying all specialty products – from wine and beer to cheese, chocolate, olives and other foods for 22 stores in Whole Foods Market’s Southwest region including Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Broglie’s journey to Master Sommelier began in 2002 when he took his Introductory Exam.

Whole Foods Market wine buyers seek out great-tasting wines locally and from around the world, visiting vineyards and producers to select wines made from the highest quality grapes and sustainable vineyard practices. There are three levels of wine buyers – two national, regional, and in-store local. Whole Foods Market is the only national retailer to have a wine specialist in each store that sells wine to provide customer service and education to shoppers, in addition to tasting and recommending. In 2007, Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded its “Best Wine Retailer of the Year” award to Whole Foods Market.