Updated: Jan 14
What's that hilarious little jingle that kids used to sing on the playground?
Beans, beans the magical fruit.
The more you eat the more you TOOT!
That sure brings back memories.
If this jingle is in fact true....
Then, all the happy tootin' was happening over in Healdsburg on February 2nd😜
It was the: 3rd Annual, Wilson Artisan Wineries, CHILI Taste-Off!!!!
ALL THE CHILI was had!!!!🌶
I was in attendance as a special VIP Judge.
That's right. Your girl's fancy! 💁♀️
I had a VIP badge AND a clipboard scoring sheet.
Let me break the event down for you into 5 key parts.
This way you can decide if you want to attend next year
Have insider knowledge as to how to make the most of the event.
(PLEASE NOTE: This event has become wildly popular and does sell out. Secure your tickets ASAP when they go on sale. Also, if you are a vegetarian, double check that there are vegetarian options before you buy your ticket.)
1) WINE AND CHILI TREASURE MAP
From 11am-4pm. ONE Day Only! 10 Wilson Wineries Participating. Loads of chili and wine.
I suggest having a plan to visit EACH winery.
I started at the farthest south location, Matrix.
Then headed to the Wilson Artisan Wineries newest establishment, Coyote Den.
Bravo to the planners who took the farthest away wineries (St. Anne's, Jaxon Keys, and Greenwood Ridge) and put them conveniently under one roof. Yay for convenience!
From Coyote Den I proceeded in the following order:
Rockpile (a short walk from Coyote Den), Pezzi King, Wilson, Mazzocco, deLorimier, and ended at Soda Rock.
Truly, this event reminds me a lot of Barrel Tasting, Passport, Winter Wine Land weekends.
It's absolutely incredible to see the impact Wilson Artisan Wineries have in the Sonoma County wine world.
PEOPLE LOVE their Wilson Wineries and come out in droves.
It's a well known fact...
Any Wilson event is sure to be one of the most talked about events of the year.
2) GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME
Please learn from my mistakes.
WEAR. COMFORTABLE. SHOES!!!!!
I wore boots with a wooden sole/heel. Big mistake. A serious rookie move for any long day of wine tasting. My wanting to be cute over-ruled my common sense. 🤦♀️
This is an event where you stand a lot.
On this particular day in February, it was raining. The usual patio chairs and sitting spots were not available. By the end of the day my feet were exhausted.
I also suggest taking chili and wine notes at each stop.
This is key.
As the day goes on, and the wine flows, your brain will forget the flavor profiles from winery to winery.
The competition in this event is taken very seriously!
Wilson Artisan Wineries collects ballots and announces a winner.
You want your vote to count.
Award winning Chefs are brought in to cook the chili.
They are out to win!
Here was the lineup of chili for 2019:
deLorimier: Rib-Eye, Black Bean and Espresso Chili with Baby Roasted Potatoes Pezzi King: Chorizo Chili with Chimmichurri Mazzocco: Ken's Classic Homestyle Chili Wilson: Pork Green Chili (THIS WAS MY PERSONAL TOP FAVORITE) Rockpile: Sirloin & Oxtail Chili St. Anne's: Get in My Pork Belly Chili Greenwood Ridge: Wild Mendocino Chili with Wild Boar & Venison Jaxon Keys: Fire Roasted Poblano Brisket Chili with Fritos Soda Rock: Lord Snort Chili Rock
Matrix Winery: Meatsplsion2: Revenge of the Lamb
I absolutely LOVE how each winery has a recipe card for guests to take home.
I can't wait to make the Pork Green Chili recipe. SOOOOOOOOO delicious.
3) THE CREW THAT CHILI TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER
Gather your close friends and make a day out of it.
I started my day meeting other VIP Judges.
Most of them happened to be fellow wine, food, and local influencers who I really look up to.
It was my first time meeting:
Kacey from of the wine blog/Insta, Big Cab Bigger Hair
Erika Altes of, Whiskey & Lace
Sara, Bordeaux Blonde
I also hung out with:
The sweetest ladies.
Then there were surprise meet-ups with fellow wine gals who LOVE my cork earrings.
Hannah, Vino For Breakfast
Anna Marie, Vinyls And Vinos
Sarah, Wino Wanderlust
It's absolutely fascinating to see how everyone has different taste preferences.
I was not a fan of the Jaxon Keys super smokey, hot, and fire roasted chili.
They received my lowest score of the day.😬
Yet, my friend Katie deemed that particular chili her absolute favorite.
Going with a group of friends allows you to discuss, compare chili notes, and jokingly bicker about which chili and wine pairing is #1.
4) THE WILSON FAMILY
You'd think with so many wineries, and so many employees, and the bigness of the Wilson Artisan Winery collection....that you wouldn't really get the family winery vibe.
I was shocked to see the Wilson clan out and about AND participating in the event.
Ken Wilson managed to pop up at several of the wineries.
Always smiling. Hugging. Tasting chili.
Incredible winemaker for several of the Wilson labels was out and about too.
She cracked me up.
Here she was eating chili at the event and then later she was heading home to cook MORE chili for Super Bowl Sunday.
Their daughter Sydney Wilson, brought her new baby out for some chili fun too.
It just speaks volumes of the Wilson vibe.
This is about family and friends and gathering and enjoying.
They open their doors with such incredible hospitality and generosity.
I have never left a Wilson event ever feeling like I didn't get enough.
5) A BROKEN RECORD
I talk about Wilson a lot. I know.🙈
Yes, my best gal pal is the marketing manager for Wilson Wineries.
My other fabulous friend is the manager at deLorimier Winery.
This might make me a bit biased.
And yes, Wilson Artisan Wineries invited me to judge at the event and provided me with a ticket.
You know my transparency on this blog.
I will never talk about or promote anything if I don't stand by it 100%.
I JUST LOVE WILSON WINERIES!!!!
This event was no exception.
I completely recommend attending the Chili Taste-Off!
I will be in attendance next year for sure.
What is your favorite Wilson Artisan Winery?
Have you been to this event? Did you like it?