The sprawling Rancho Santa Ynez played host to the much-anticipated annual event, The 2023 Carhartt Family Wines Chili Cook-Off. Celebrating wine, music, and mouthwatering chilis, this year’s edition brought together an unforgettable day of festivities. Tickets sold out faster than ever before; proving again to be our most coveted club event!
The heart of the cook-off was the chili competition, featuring 14 talented teams who battled it out for the top spot. Each team prepared a minimum of 20 lbs of chili, showcasing their culinary prowess with diverse ingredients and flavors. The competition allowed for both pre-prepared and onsite creations, adding an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings. We saw chilis based on traditional ground beef and beans, to salmon, and everything in between.
From 2 to 4 PM, attendees immersed themselves in a tasting experience like no other. Armed with a 2 oz chili sample and a piece of cornbread, they navigated through a delicious array of chili offerings. The air was filled with the rich aromas of simmering pots, and taste buds were treated to all the flavors that were promised.
At this event, the attendees weren’t just spectators; they were the judges too! Each person received a voting ticket to cast their vote for the best chili of the evening. The competition was as fierce as it has ever been. In the end, it was the long-standing club member David Sesti and his team, ‘The Chili Cats,’ who claimed the coveted 1st place with their filet mignon and tri-tip-based chili. The ‘Chili Willy’s’ led by Matthew Morris came in second. And ‘Team Cajun Mama’ led by Melissa Scrymgeour secured a very close 3rd place. The top three teams all walked away with cash prizes – 1st place took home a whopping $1,000, 2nd place received $750, and 3rd place earned $500.
In addition to the chili extravaganza, attendees were treated to an early release pouring of the new White #4 blend from Carhartt Family Wines Venture label. The wine enthusiasts had the opportunity to indulge in a special tasting list with pouring stations strategically placed throughout the venue. It was a perfect pairing of bold chilis and wines, creating an unforgettable experience for all.
Live music was orchestrated by ‘Out of The Blue,’ a local band based in Santa Barbara County and cherished as Carhartt Cabin favorites. Attendees laughed, danced, and enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere, making memories that will remain long after the last chili pot was cleaned.
As a token of our appreciation, every attendee went home with a Carhartt Family Wines glass. This serves as a tangible reminder of the day’s festivities and a symbol of the tight-knit community that gathers annually at the Rancho Santa Ynez.
The 2023 Carhartt Family Wines Chili Cook-Off was more than a competition. It was a celebration of family, community, and shared passion for great wine. There was an incredible combined 22 years of Rascal membership in the three prize winning teams. Words cannot express our gratitude for everyone’s loyalty and continued support of our family and our dream. We are dedicated to continuing the best club experience for everyone who’s joined our close-knit community of family and friends. We can’t wait to see you all back next year. Cheers to the chili champions, participants, and everyone who makes this great event possible!