Willows Lodge announces contestants for 2012 Iron Vintner Challenge

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Photo courtesy of Willows Lodge Left to right: Morgan Lee - Covington Cellars, Jerry Riener – Guardian Cellars, Chef Bobby Moore, Kevin Correll – Barrage Cellars and Ross Andrew Mickel – Ross Andrew Winery.
Woodinville winemakers will go knife-to-knife in month-long culinary competition to benefit Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center

Willows Lodge announces the contestants for its third annual Iron Vintner Challenge, a month-long culinary competition where acclaimed Woodinville winemakers duke it out for the coveted title of Iron Vintner.

With Barking Frog’s chef, Bobby Moore, leading the charge as emcee again this year, the following winemakers have agreed to put their cooking skills to the test in front of a panel of celebrity foodie judges:

• Jerry Riener, Guardian Cellars

• Morgan Lee, Covington Cellars

• Ross Andrew Mickel, Ross Andrew Winery

• Kevin Correll, Barrage Cellars

The Iron Vintner Challenge takes place on four consecutive Wednesdays this June, concluding with a Championship Winemaker Dinner at Barking Frog, all to benefit Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, whose mission is to improve the bodies, minds and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy.

The 2012 Iron Vintner Challenge schedule is as follows:

• June 6 – Round 1: Jerry Riener, Guardian Cellars vs. Kevin Correll, Barrage Cellars

• June 13 – Round 2: Morgan Lee, Covington Cellars vs. Ross Andrew Mickel, Ross Andrew Winery

• June 20– Championship Round: Round 1 Winner vs. Round 2 Winner

• June 27 – Championship Dinner at Barking Frog: Four-course meal with wine pairings, live auction to benefit Little Bit and chance to mingle with all winemakers.

For each round of the competition, which takes place on the patio outside Fireside Cellars at Willows Lodge from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., attendees will be able to see the action as it unfolds, watching  contestants’ cooking techniques, execution and how they react under pressure against their rival.

To begin each round, winemakers and their partner will be given a plethora of ingredients along with a secret protein selected by Chef Moore from which to craft an appetizer and an entrée in 60 minutes or less.

Celebrity judges will taste and critique each contestant’s dishes and name a winner each week based on three categories: presentation, flavor and creativity.

A Championship Winemaker Dinner at Barking Frog will complete the Iron Vintner Challenge, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Woodinville.

Chef Moore will step down from being emcee for the evening to prepare a four-course meal featuring the winning appetizer and entree along with wine pairings from the 2012 Iron Vintner himself, as well as the other participating winemakers.

Tickets for Iron Vintner Challenge go on sale at the end of April and are $50 per person for each elimination round, which includes a tasting from each winery competing that evening.

The Championship Winemaker Dinner is $135 per person. For those attendees who want to  stay overnight on the Wednesday evening of the competitions, Willows Lodge will extend a special 15 percent discount on the best available room rate. For additional information or to purchase tickets, please visit

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