I highly recommend attending at least one of these Iron Vintner Challenge rounds, if not all! I’ve attended the past few years and particularly enjoy the final round where the stakes are higher all the way around. Besides the opportunity to get up close to see what the vintners are cooking, the courtyard of Willows Lodge is relaxing and beautiful. Add that to sipping award winning wines, noshing on bites from The Barking Frog and helping to raise funds for Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, a charity that pulls my heartstrings whenever I hear about it. Their mission is to improve the bodies, minds, and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy and activities, and to be an inspiration and educational resource to the therapeutic riding profession, both regionally and nationally. When you put healing and horses together the outcomes can be amazing and provide results in areas where nothing else has worked. Consider attending and I’ll look forward to seeing you there!


This year’s Iron Vintner Challenge is the All Stars version where the winning winemakers from the past four years square off in a head-to-head cooking competition. Over the course of three weeks in June, the competitors will be put to the test to see who is the best cook and crowned the Ultimate Iron Vintner.

Barking Frog Chef Bobby Moore will serve as the emcee each evening to and will unveil the secret protein at the beginning of the event. Competitors will then have one hour to prepare an appetizer and an entrée to wow our panel of celebrity judges. It’s fast and furious and the fun never stops!

Tickets for the first two rounds  and the championship are $75 per person and each event is sold separately. Advance tickets are required. Ticket price for the first three weeks of competition includes entrance to the event, commemorative wine glass, tasting samples from each competing winery with special reduced pricing on food & wine.

Tickets to the After Party are $75 per person. The ticket price includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine, appetizers created by Chef Bobby Moore based on dishes prepared by our winemakers during the competitions paired with wines by our competing winemakers along with passed appetizers from our Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen.

Wednesday, June 4 – Round 1
Darby English – 2010 Winner, Darby Winery VS Lisa Baer – 2013 Winner, Baer Winery

Wednesday, June 11 – Round 2
Chris Gorman – 2011 Winner, Gorman Winery VS Morgan Lee – 2012 Winner, Covington Cellars

Wednesday, June 18 – Championship
Winner from Week 1 VS Winner from Week 2

Wednesday, June 25 – After Party
The 2014 Iron Vintner All Stars Challenge culminates with a blow-out party. Join many of the winemakers who competed over the past four years for some great food, wine, live music by Robbie Christmas and lots of fun. The festivities includes a live and silent auction where you will be able to bid on some one-of-kind wine experiences and much more.