Iron Sommelier is Back for 2018: Periwinkle Foundation’s Premier Houston Wine Event

2018 IronSomm Competition & Wine/Food Tasting – Be there or be square!

Iron Sommelier is Back for 2018: Periwinkle Foundation’s Premier Houston Wine Event

Entering its 11th year, the Periwinkle  Foundation’s 2018 IronSomm Competition presented by Autosol and organized by Sean Beck (Sommelier/Beverage Director at Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s & Trevisio Restaurants) is a tasting event that showcases the expertise of Houston’s finest sommeliers as they compete for the title of Iron Sommelier.

On hand this year will be competitors: Angie Chang – Backstreet Cafe; Marcus Gausepohl – Brennan’s of Houston; Emily Tolbert – Del Frisco’s;  Geoff Stephens – Dolce Vita; Sam Governale – Emmaline; Evan Turner – Emmaline; Alicia Wolf – Georgia James and Underbelly Hospitality; Julie Dalton – Mastro’s Steakhouse; Chris Walter – Pappas Bros. Steakhouse; Christian Varas– River Oaks Country Club; Farrah Cauley – Sonoma Wine Bar – Upper Kirby & The Heights; Matt Crawford – State of Grace and La Lucha; Justin Vann – Theodore Rex and Public Services Wine & Whisky Bar; Adele Corrigan – 13 Celsius Wine Bar and Robert L. Waltrip, III – Yauatcha Houston.

While the competition ensues, guests will mingle and taste hand-selected wines carefully prepared to themes crafted by each sommelier contestant. The sommelier competitors will be rated on wine choice, presentation, creativity and knowledge of their wine selections.

All funds raised will benefit the Periwinkle Foundation and its mission to develop and provide programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults, and families who are challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and are cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital.

One of my favorite IronSomm wine and food presentations came in last year’s competition. It was given by Matthew Pridgen. Periwinkle Foundation’s charity Iron Sommelier event in November is where many of Houston’s best and brightest sommeliers had selected and were presenting wine from literally the four corners of the modern wine world. However, one notable exception was Matthew Pridgen, Wine Director for Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly and OneFifth Restaurants, and now his latest concept restaurant – Georgia James. Matthew came with arms loaded with Texas wines. However, his wines were not just made from Texas-grown European varieties of wine grapes. Rather, they were the real deal – wines made from hybrid grapes (Black Spanish and Blanc Du Bois) that were developed in breeding trials and by experience over the past 50 to 200 years to be able to grow readily in regions of our state hostile to European wine grapes. Find more info in my story written for Edible Houston (click here). Matthew’s presentation was part wine tasting, wine-food pairing, and part history lesson, all at the same time. It included wines from Lewis Dickson’s Texas hill country La Cruz de Comal Winery (See:

Matthew Pridgen studying his Texas wines

I hope you join me this year at the Periwinkle 2018 Iron Sommelier Competition on Thursday 8, 2018, 6-10 pm at the Houstonian Hotel, 111 North Post Oak Lane. Don’t forget to wear your casual chic attire. Click here for more information and tickets.


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Love to taste, talk and tweet about Texas wines and where they are in the global scheme for wines. After all that's the only way they will reach the full potential.

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