Upcoming Event: Top Houston Wine Pros Battle For Charity At Iron Sommelier

One of Houston’s best wine events, Iron Sommelier, returns to the Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa on Thursday, November 9 starting at 6 p.m. This is the 10th year the tasting event, competition and silent auction has raised funds for The Periwinkle Foundation, a charity that helps children who are fighting life-threatening illnesses and their families. 

This year’s competitors include: Andres Blanco of Caracol Restaurant; Adele Corrigan from 13 celsius; Matt Crawford of State of Grace; Jane-Paige B. D’Huyvetter from River Oaks Country Club; Chris Fleischman from Riel; Sam Governale from Emmaline; Lexey Johnson from B&B Butchers & Restaurant; Brandon Kerne from Pappas Bros. Steakhouse; Farrah Cauley from Sonoma Wine Bar; Thomas Moësse from Vinology Bottle Shop & Tasting Bar and divino Italian Restaurant; Matthew Pridgen from One Fifth and Underbelly; Samantha Porter from Oporto Fooding House, Oporto Wine Cafe, and Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen; Shepard Ross of MadCat Hospitality and Pax Americana; and Evan Turner from Helen Greek Food and Wine and Helen in the Heights. Sean Beck of Hugo’s, Caracol and more hosts the competition alongside sommelier chair John Clutterbuck.

The wine pull at last year’s 2016 Iron Sommelier Competition at The Houstonian. Photo by Dave Rossman.

At the event, sommeliers pick a theme, then pour wines that best represent that theme for guests. Attendees vote for who they think poured the best. Themes can be as familiar as “Bubbles” or as esoteric as “Goût de Terroir – Digging for Texture”—last year’s winning theme by 2016 champion Christian Varas of River Oaks Country Club. With 14 sommeliers pouring, there will be plenty of vino to go around. 

There are actually two major components of the competition. In addition to attendee votes, there’s also a presentation for VIP ticket holders. In that room, the sommelier is judged on how he or she does with a private audience. Each competitor is ranked on wine choice, presentation, creativity and knowledge.

The crowd at last year’s Iron Sommelier competition at The Houstonian. Photo by Dave Rossman.

Individual tickets are $200 and on sale now at the Iron Sommelier website. (Don’t wait. Tickets purchased at the door are $25 more.) Those wanting a more exclusive experience can become sponsors for the event. Underwriters are eligible for private tasting presentations from each current competing sommelier, or a four-course tasting menu from James Beard Award-winning chefs paired with hand-selected rare wines picked by past Iron Sommelier winners. (Companies can also sponsor items imprinted with their brands for VIP gift bags.) For more information on sponsorship and underwriting opportunities and pricing, contact Alice Rohrman at [email protected].

Seeking wine outside the festivities? Order an Iron Sommelier Wine Case, curated by last year’s winner, Christian Varas of River Oaks Country Club. He’s hand-selected six bottles using the theme “Wines Created Beneath the Vines,” with picks ranging from French Gosset Champagne Brut Excellence N.V. to Spanish Marqués de Griñón “Caliza.” Order a case for $475 here, and note that wine must be pre-ordered and will be available at the Wine Case Pick Up Party on November 15, 2017 at Central Market, 3815 Westheimer.

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