Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area
Gold Members

IGGPRA Chili Cook-Off

For most people who make chili, it’s a passion. It’s as richly steeped in ritual and tradition as it is herbs and spices. And cooking it is only half as much fun as sharing it. For the rest, tasting chili is a treat and the opportunity to sample several is a rare pleasure.

The second annual IGGPRA Chili Cook-Off to be held April 30, 2017 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Terra Mia Vineyards will give both chefs and samplers an opportunity to do both. This competition is fun and different because you don’t have to be a five-star chef to enter or a food critic to judge the chilis.

There will be two categories of chilis: classic and creative. Guests rate each chili on a simple scale of their least to most favorite and the winners are determined by a tally of the points their chili receives. Prizes will be awarded for first and second places in each division.

Last year, the competition heated up with twelve chilis entered. Maxine Perkins (a volunteer and guest of Lowell and Becky Zelinski) took first place with her traditional chili con carne in the classic category and Gina Flores took the top honors in the creative category with her three bean, three pepper, tomatillo tri-tip chili (even saying it makes you hungry). The runners up were Jim Bono with his classic beef chuck chili and Rene Callahan with her creative white chicken chili.

The Chili Cook-Off will also feature a barbecue chicken dinner and Rhone wine shoot-out. The barbecue will feature local-favorite grill masters — Brian and Nancy Stein of Stein’s catering. It will include ale-basted barbecue chicken, Nancy’s green salad, smoky gouda macaroni and cheese, parmesan garlic bread and Nancy’s Paso wine brownies.

The Rhone wine shoot-out is a friendly, yet competitive brown-bag wine tasting that anyone can enter. Guests are encouraged to bring a bottle of their favorite, local red or white Rhone wine varietal. No pre-entry is required. Everyone will have a chance to sample and vote for their favorite. Winners of first place in each category will take home a prize. Last year, Bill Livingston’s 2014 Viognier and a Bella Colina 2010 Tannat brought by Roberta Weideman took the honors.

Participation is easy. If you’d like to enter the chili competition, simply indicate which category chili you plan to bring when you register to attend. Please be sure to register early. Only 10 chilis in each category will be accepted and it’s first-come, first-serve. The entry deadline is April 15, 2017.

But perhaps the best part of all of this is the price. For only $20 for members and $25 for non-members, you can network with friends and colleagues and meet new ones. If you register by April 21, you can also save $5. You’ll also get to sample some awesome chili, taste great wines and enjoy a fabulous barbecue dinner in one of Paso Roble’s newest and most beautiful event locations.

What could be better than sampling chili, sipping Paso Robles’ wine and dining under the stars in a beautiful vineyard?

If your mouth isn’t watering now, it will be on April 30! Don’t delay – Register today.


Want to get involved? We’re always looking for volunteers. There are two volunteer shifts: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Don’t forget: you can receive a credit on your membership dues by helping out. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact Becky Zelinski at or (805) 286-6529.