Iron Sommelier 2023 presented by AUTOSOL took place on November 9th. The annual wine competition and wine tasting event benefited the Periwinkle Foundation. This year’s Iron Sommelier was Chris Havens of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.
Thirteen of Houston’s top sommeliers in the city’s premier wine tasting and competition benefiting The Periwinkle Foundation participated in the competition. Each competing sommelier selected three wines which focused on a particular wine region, grape or style, and a panel of judges rated wine choice, presentation, creativity, and knowledge of their wine selections.
Sommeliers competing in the 2023 competition included:
- Andres Blanco, Le Jardinier
- Daisy Durham, Doris Metropolitan
- Chris Havens, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
- Coleman Mason, MAD
- Matthew McLaughlin, Guard and Grace
- Zach Newman. Georgia James
- Corey Peterson, Bludorn
- Joshua Ponthieux, Mastros
- Meagan Van Til, AOC Selections
- Rachel Van Til, Houston Oaks Country Club
- Dennis Vawter, River Oaks Country Club
- Cody Vela, March
- Adele Corrigan Wade, 13 celsius wine bar
The competing sommeliers were judged by: Mark Rashap – Broadbent Selections, Joseph Samso – Raventos Winery, and Alison Smith Story – Smith Story Wine Cellars.
More than 450 Houston wine aficionados raised over $380,000 for Periwinkle’s Camps, Arts, and Survivor programs for children, teens, and their families challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. A special moment during the presentations was when Periwinkle Executive Director Doug Suggitt introduced 18-year-old leukemia survivor Sara Agrawal. She spoke about her cancer journey and how Periwinkle has positively impacted her life, including attending camps and making life-long friends. She is now looking forward to attending college.
In addition to bringing together sommeliers from the top restaurants in Houston, four Master Sommeliers presented rare, premium wines to underwriters in the Masters Tasting Room.
Other awards included:
- 1st Runner Up – Meagan Van Til, AOC Selections
- 2nd Runner Up – Zach Newman, Georgia James
- People’s Choice – Rachel Van Til, The Clubs at Houston Oaks
- Best Wine – Cody Vela, March
- Best Table Décor – Meagan Van Til, AOC Selections
Texas wineries Lewis Wines and William Chris Vineyards had items in the auction.
Photos courtesy of Dave Rossman.