A Wine Competition for a Cause:
Iron Sommelier 2014

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Iron Sommelier, the annual wine competition and fundraiser, returns on October 2nd from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Houstonian. The event benefits The Periwinkle Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps seriously ill children and their families. It's also an opportunity for Houston's top sommeliers to go out and demonstrate their deep knowledge of wine.

The somms come up with a theme and present wines for attendees to taste that best represents it. The theme may be about a particular grape, region or style of wine. There are also plenty of small bites and snacks, overseen by The Houstonian's executive chef, Neal Cox.

There are two parts of the competition: the people's choice voting and the Underwriter's Private Grand Tasting competition.

For the people's choice portion, attendees are given three corks to use as voting tokens that they can drop into the buckets at the tables of their favorite somms. In the Underwriter's Private Grand Tasting room, a group of high-level ticket buyers rate the wine choice, presentation, creativity and the sommelier's knowledge of what he or she selected. The room host is sommelier, chef and restaurant owner Peter Garcia of El Meson.

Best of all, this opportunity for fun and competition is all for a good cause. "The generous support of our underwriters, sommeliers, committee chairs and guests at Iron Sommelier make it possible for us to continue to provide life changing programs for children, young adults and their families who are challenged by cancer and other life threatening illnesses," said Doug Suggitt, Executive Director of The Periwinkle Foundation. "Through our camps, arts and Long Term Survivor programs, these special children and their families are better able to heal emotionally, lead fuller lives and become stronger survivors."

The competitors this year (along with notes on those who won from last year) are:

  • Christian Varas - River Oaks Country Club, 2013's Iron Sommelier
  • Steven McDonald - Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, 2013 1st Runner Up
  • Evan Turner - TABLE on Post Oak, 2013 2nd Runner Up
  • Travis Hinkle - Treadsack Restaurant Group, 2013 Grand Tasting Room Winner
  • Kelly McCloud - Camerata at Paulie's
  • Freddy Opperman - Carrabba's on Kirby
  • James Watkins - Cordúa Restaurants
  • Sam Governale - Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
  • Kevin Kenyon - The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa
  • Cathy Nguyen - Mark's American Cuisine
  • Vanessa Treviño Boyd - 60 Degrees Mastercrafted
  • Angie Chang - Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant
  • Adele Corrigan - 13 Celsius Wine Bar

There's a big silent auction (often with many wine baskets and giant bottles available to bid on) and a children's art auction as well. In addition, attendees can opt to purchase a case of some very fine wines chosen by last year's Iron Sommelier, Christian Varas of River Oaks Country Club.

More information is available and tickets can be purchased at the Iron Sommelier web site.

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