Over A Dozen Houston Wine Pros Are Competing In The 2018 Sangria Throwdown
No one is going thirsty at this year’s Women Of Wine Charities Sangria Throwdown. On Monday, June 11, 15 of Houston’s best sommeliers and bartenders are all bringing their best wine-punch game to Mercedes Benz of Houston Greenway from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. That’s a whole lot of sangria. (Note the location is different that in years past.)
The popular yearly event, hosted by Women Of Wine Charities, raises money for the Houston Area Women’s Center. The competition categories are People’s Choice, Judges’ Most Creative and Judges’ Top Sangria awards. First-place winners in 2017, respectively, were Beaver’s, River Oaks Country Club and Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room.
All of last year’s winning restaurants are returning to defend their titles — and there’s a ton of talented competition.
Here’s the big group of contenders:
- CRU Food & Wine Bar, Annette Amaya
- 13 Celsius, Adele Corrigan & Carleigh Rice
- Sonoma Wine Bar, Farrah Cauley
- River Oaks Country Club, Nicolas Arteaga and Manuel Hernandez
- The Barking Pig, Kristin Powell
- Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room, Alli Jarrett and Ashley Nichols
- AQUI, Leslie Krockenbeger (formerly Ross)
- The Forest Club, Garland McClure
- Railean Distillery and Buccaneer Bar, Kelly Railean and James Bradshaw
- Beaver’s, Joseph Medrano
- Weights + Measures, Nicole Meza
- Rico’s Morning, Noon & Night, Jason Gould
- Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods, Bear Dalton
- Hugo’s, Ricky Gonzales and Jimmy Adamson
- Avenida Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse, Vanderlei Bernardi
In addition to some over-the-top table decorations, expect to try both very traditional sangrias that use white, red and rosé wines as foundations and some very creative takes that push the definition of what is and is not a sangria. Regardless of the approach, balance is key — and that might be one of the qualities on the judges’ minds. The judges this year are Phaedra Cook of Houston Food Finder (yes, that’s me — the sucking-up can begin any time now), Cleverley Stone of “Cooking With Cleverley” on Fox 26 and host of The Cleverley Show on CBS 650 radio, Taylor-Byrne Dodge of My Table, and writer and food historian David Leftwich, who is a regular contributor to the Houston Chronicle and Edible Houston.
Tickets to taste the 15 different sangrias from these top Houston pros are $70 plus online ticket fee. If you can’t attend but still want to help the Houston Area Women’s Center, there’s also an option to donate $45 to provide a safe night. Undoubtably, there’s a lady out there right now who could use your help getting out of a bad situation.
Update, 6/6/2018, 2:24 p.m.: Article corrected to reflect there are only three competition categories just like last year, not four.
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.