Iron Vintner Challenge: The Knives Are Coming Out

by Shona Milne on June 4, 2014

There are some tickets available for this event. This is the fifth and final year for the Iron Vintner Challenge. The competitors are the winners from the previoius past years.



Woodinville winemakers battle for “ultimate” Iron Vintner title in month-long culinary competition to benefit

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center

(Past IVC Winners, left to right: Morgan Lee, Covington Cellars – 2012; Lisa Baer, Baer Winery – 2013; Chef Bobby Moore, Barking Frog; Chris Gorman, Gorman Winery – 2011; and Darby English, Darby Winery – 2010. Credit: Willows Lodge)

Willows Lodge, a favorite Pacific Northwest retreat in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country, announces details for the fifth and final Iron Vintner Challenge, its annual, month-long charitable event in which acclaimed Woodinville winemakers compete for the coveted title of Iron Vintner, while raising funds for Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center.  This June, the past four IVC winners will compete in an all-star battle for the title of “ultimate” Iron Vintner.  This will be the final year in which Willows Lodge and 16 of Woodinville’s top winemakers have raised more than $116,000 for Little Bit, whose mission is to improve the bodies, minds and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy and activities.

Iron Vintner Challenge – The Finale will take place on four consecutive Wednesdays in June, concluding with The After Party & Live Auction, a casual yet festive grand finale celebration with the winemakers catered by the Barking Frog culinary team and the restaurant’s new food truck Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen.  With Chef Bobby Moore leading the charge as emcee, the following winemakers will put their cooking skills to the test in front of a panel of celebrity foodie and wino judges:

      • June 4:  Darby English, Darby Winery – 2010 vs. Lisa Baer, Baer Winery – 2013
      • June 11: Chris Gorman, Gorman Winery – 2011 vs. Morgan Lee, Covington Cellars – 2012
      • June 18: Championship Round – Ultimate Iron Vintner Crowned
      • June 25: The After Party & Live Auction

For each competition round taking place on the Fireside patio at Willows Lodge, attendees will be able to watch the action as it unfolds on two opposing Viking grills, observing contestants’ cooking techniques and how they react under pressure. To begin, each winemaker and their sous chef will be given a plethora of ingredients along with a top secret protein revealed by Chef Moore seconds prior to start time.  The winemakers are then asked to craft one appetizer and one entrée in 60 minutes or less.

Celebrity judges will taste and critique the contestants’ dishes and name a winner based on three categories: presentation, flavor and creativity. The competition rounds will also present an opportunity for guests to bid on rare magnums and other culinary and wine experiences donated by Willows Lodge, Barking Frog and the competing winemakers and celebrity judges, such as private tastings and dinners, as well as one-of-a-kind experiences.

The After Party & Live Auction on June 25 will complete the final Iron Vintner Challenge, as Chef Moore steps down from being emcee to prepare his own interpretation of four of the best winning dishes from IVC, which guests will enjoy along with select pours from the winemakers.  Auctioneer David Silverman will lead an always entertaining live auction, featuring priceless experiences donated by the winemakers with plenty of surprises and friendly one-upmanship between this very competitive group.

Tickets for Iron Vintner Challenge are $75 per person for each competition round, which includes a tasting from each winery competing that evening, as well as a commemorative IVC 2014 wine glass.  Tickets to The After Party & Live Auction are also $75 and includes passed appetizers and one dish from each of the four food stations, as well as a welcome glass of sparkling wine and pours from each of the four winemakers.  For attendees who’d like to stay overnight on the Wednesday evenings of competition, Willows Lodge will extend a special 15 percent discount on the Best Available Rate via this link. For additional information and to buy tickets, please visit

About Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center

Founded in 1976, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center is a leader in the field of therapeutic horseback riding and the first nationally accredited program of its kind in the Northwest.  Little Bit’s mission is to improve the bodies, minds and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy and activities.  The center also strives to be an inspiration and educational resource to the therapeutic riding profession and was the first nationally accredited program (accredited by PATH) of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

About Willows Lodge

Willows Lodge, a Northwest style lodge located in Woodinville Wine Country just outside of Seattle, features 84 luxury guestrooms, a full-service spa and high-tech equipped meeting space.  Executive Chef Bobby Moore’s American regional cuisine at Barking Frog reflects the seasonal and organic produce found in Puget Sound, and is artfully paired with an extensive list of Washington wines.  Willows Lodge also boasts Fireside Cellars, offering a casual and sophisticated atmosphere tucked away in the lobby with an outdoor patio overlooking the expansive surrounding landscape.

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