This Week, the Annual Sangria Throwdown Returns as an In-Person Houston Event
Women of Wine Charities’ Sangria Throwdown has been an annual festivity that draws in wine and cocktail aficionados as well as top bartenders and sommeliers all ready to prove they can make the best sangria, whether it be based on red or white wine, or something else. However due to the pandemic and other issues, the competition hasn’t been an in-person event for four years, instead existing more as as a traveling tasting. People could visit individual participating businesses to try that place’s concoction. This week represents a return to normalcy, as the competition returns to Mercedes-Benz of Houston Greenway on Wednesday, July 12. VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets with entry at 6:30 p.m. are still available online for $95, as are $150 combo tickets that include a membership to Women Of Wine Charities, and 10-packs of Matador Sponsor Tickets.
As always, the event raises funds for the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC), a local organization that supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. This year, 13 competitors will serve their best sangria in the hopes of winning three awards: People’s Choice, Most Creative or Judge’s Choice. The judges who will be deciding that last award are editor and publisher Phaedra Cook of Houston Food Finder (that’s me), food editor Eric Sandler of CultureMap, Swanky Maven’s lifestyle blogger Felice Simmons Sloan, The Cleverley Stone Foundation’s Katie Stone, who leads the Houston Restaurant Weeks effort each year and Instagram influencer Danielle Dubois of Hangry Houstonian.
The competitors are:
- Christina Ramey and Christian Garza, Eight Row Flint
- Thomas Marsella, 13 Celsius
- Brad Fox – Art of Cellaring
- Luis Salamanca Nunez – Backstreet Cafe
- Mauro Cicneros III – Doris Metropolitan Steakhouse
- Devin Gonzales – Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room
- Gary Westlake – Low Tide
- Anthony Caravello and Alyce Plancarte – NettBar
- Victor Torrijos – Oporto Fooding House & Wine
- Scott Miller and Kayla Dunn – Plonk Bistro & Wine Cellar
- Kristen Powell – Ribeye & Rye
- Judith Piotrowski – Stella’s Wine Bar at The Post Oak Hotel
- Paul Browne – Vinology
In addition to tasting many kinds of sangria, guests can also enter to win prizes. Valet parking is complimentary (gratuity is of course appreciated); drive through the Service Center entrance on the east side of the building. Awards will be given out and raffle winners announced at approximately 8:15 p.m.; the event ends at 9 p.m.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.