Congratulations to Christian Varas, Houston’s new “Iron Sommelier”!

The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas sends its warm congratulations to Houston wine professional Christian Varas (above, center; photo by Dave Rossman), wine director for the exclusive River Oaks Country Club and winner of last week’s Iron Sommelier Competition, presented by the charitable Periwinkle Foundation.

According to a post for the Houston Press by Houston-based wine writer Jeremy Parzen (and contributor to the IACC blog): “Competing against last year’s winner, Evan Turner of Helen Greek Food and Wine, who took home the second-place prize, and Thomas Moësse of Divino, the third-place winner, Varas impressed a panel of three judges with his presentation of goût de terroir, a French expression that can be loosely translated as flavor (or taste) of the earth or — to borrow an expression from 21st-century winespeak — sense of place.”

“Varas, Turner and Moësse were three of 14 Houston-based wine professionals who took part in the competition this year,” writes Parzen. “The panel of judges included Master Sommelier Brian Conin, New Orleans-based fine wine distributor Liz Dowty, and Houston Wine Merchant buyer and Italian wine specialist Antonio Gianola.”

The IACC was a proud sponsor of the event, which raised “more than $270,000 was raised for Periwinkle’s Camps, Arts and Survivor programs for children, teens and their families challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.”

Not only was the chamber an underwriter of the competition and gala tasting, but it was also a participant. Chamber director Alessia Paolicchi presented an assortment of authentic Italian food products as part of the chamber’s “Extraordinary Italian Taste” campaign (below).

Warm congratulations to Christian Varas for his win and to the Periwinkle Foundation for this fantastic event and fundraiser!

alessia paolicchi

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