Pigs & Pinot 2017 Recap

On March 17-18, pork and Pinot Noir lovers from around the country gathered in Sonoma wine country for Chef Charlie Palmer’s Twelfth Annual Pigs & Pinot weekend, held at the award-winning Hotel Healdsburg and Dry Creek Kitchen. Honored guest chefs, David Burke, Nancy Silverton, Bryan Voltaggio and Elizabeth Falkner along with world class Pinot Noirs producers, selected by the organization’s wine chair, Daryl Groom, lent their talents to raise serious funds for Share our Strength and local Sonoma County charities and organizations, topping Pigs & Pinot’s total charitable funds raised since the event’s inception to over one million dollars.  This celebrated epicurean weekend of Pinot Noir and pork is sponsored in part by DCS Appliances and Alaskan Airlines Mileage Plan Visa Signature.

“We reached a true milestone this year,” says Chef Charlie Palmer of the success of Pigs & Pinot 2017, “Not only did we celebrate the world’s best Pinot Noirs and heritage pork, but most importantly, we surpassed over one million dollars raised since the event’s inception for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign and our local scholarship funds, community organizations and charities. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, celebrating two cornerstones of Sonoma County, while making such an impact on the community we live in.”

Taste of Pigs & Pinot

On Friday March 17th, over 600 Guests Wined & Dined on 60 Pinot Noirs, 2 Rosés & 30 Pork Tastings

The sold-out benefit kicked off with Friday’s Taste event featuring 60 Pinot Noirs alongside inspired pork tastings including:

  • Charlie Palmer and Scott Romano’s (Dry Creek Kitchen) Niman Ranch Pork French Dip with Herb Roasted Cipollini Relish, Cowgirl Creamery St Pat, Sausalito Springs Watercress, Yeast Roll, Au Jus
  • David Burke’s (Tavern62) Clothesline Bacon with Maple Pepper Bacon Belly, Jalapeno Peanut Butter Crepes
  • Elizabeth Falkner’s Carnitas Tacos with Butter Lettuce, Bourbon Habanero BBQ Sauce, Funky Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa, Radish, Corn Tortilla Crisps, Queso Fresco
  • Nancy Silverton’s (Mozza Restaurant Group) Pancetta Wrapped Sausage, Spiedino Alla Piccata
  • Bryan Voltaggio’s (VOLT and RANGE) Taco Stand
  • Chefs Patrick & Casey Van Voohris (Spoonbar) ‘Porchetta’ Agnolotti Del Plin with Juniper, 25-year Balsamic, Parmesan Reggiano

Many notable Healdsburg restaurants joined in the pork party, including:

  • SingleThread’s (Kyle Connaughton) Braised Pork Jowl & Malted Potatoes with Charred Kugo Negi, Buddha’s Hand Fruit Kosha
  • Scopa & Campo Fina’s (Ari Rosen) Whole Pig Porchetta
  • Healdsburg Shed’s (Perry Hoffman) Confit of Niman Pork Cheek with Sauerkraut Powder, Wild Mustard, Bread Crumbs

Pinot Cup

Friday evening also included the reveal of the highly anticipated Pinot Cup winner. The notable judging panel of the 2017 Pinot Cup—a blind tasting competition among 60 hand-picked Pinot Noirs—included Esther Mobley, Wine Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier and Sandy Block, Master of Wine and VP Beverage Operations, Legal Seafood.

Congratulations to:

Pinot Cup Winner
TR Elliott
2014 Bootlegger’s Hill, Russian River Valley, California

Pinot Cup Runner-up
Kosta Browne
2014 Gap’s Crown, Sonoma Coast, California 

The complete list of the participating Taste wineries and chefs/restaurants can be found here

Tournament of the Pig

Mario Cantone Raises an Additional $12,500 for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign

On Saturday morning guests filed into Relish Culinary Adventures to attend the first seminar, “Tournament of the Pig,” which divided the four celebrity chefs into two teams pitting them against each other in an Iron Chef-style competition. The emcee, actor and comedian Mario Cantone, stole the show providing guests with culinary and comical commentary throughout the competition while they enjoyed sips of Pinot Noir from Three Sticks.

In a guys versus girls competition, David Burke and Bryan Voltaggio teamed up against Nancy Silverton and Elizabeth Falkner with a 150-pound pig provided by Rancho Llano Secco, along with a market basket of secret ingredients to inspire two creations from each chef team, one Peoples’ Choice dish voted on by the attendees and one presented to the discerning judging panel whose spots were auctioned off by Mario Cantone.  These critics secured their coveted seats on the panel by generously donating $2500 each, amounting in an extra $12,500 raised for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Team Voltaggio and Burke won the Judges’ Choice vote for their Sirloin Steak of Pork with Smoked Paprika, Chorizo, Shrimp, Clams, and Fava Sprouts.  Team Falkner/Silverton won the Peoples’ Choice vote for their Pork Milanese with brown butter, radicchio and parsley salad, and grain mustard vinaigrette.

Ultimate Pinot Smackdown Seminar

16 Pinots, 4 Master Sommeliers, 1 Winner

At the “March-Madness” style competition led by master sommeliers—Keith Goldston, Fred Dame, Drew Hendricks and Michael Jordan—each host entered his personal selection of four Pinot Noirs from around the world and then “pitched” the audience on why their wine picks were the best. Four rousing rounds later, the audience ultimately named Michael Jordan the 2016 Smackdown King for selecting both the winning and runner up wines.

Kosta Browne
2014, Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, California
Selected by Michael Jordan

2014, Zena Crown Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Selected by Michael Jordan

Dry Creek Kitchen Gala Dinner

On Saturday night, the Pigs & Pinot five-course Gala Dinner was held at Hotel Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Kitchen.  As a collaborative offering, each course featured a signature creation from Palmer or one of the visiting master chefs, paired with limited-production Pinot Noirs from acclaimed wineries Domaine Lejeune, Kosta Browne, O’Connell Vineyards, Penner-Ash, and Westwood Estates.

Spoonbar Swine & Wine Dinner

Hotel Healdsburg’s sister property h2hotel also joined in the celebration by offering a “Swine & Wine” dinner prepared by h2hotel’s Spoonbar and their husband and wife Executive Chef team of Casey and Jason Van Voorhis in partnership with Lord Stanley’s (San Francisco) husband and wife team of Carrie and Rupert Blease, along with wine pairings from Thomas George Estates and MacRostie Winery & Vineyards.

Feder Knives

New York-based sculptor and knife maker, Geoff Feder, was on hand throughout the weekend to promote the auction of his custom crafted Pigs & Pinot chef knives, a collaborative effort between Feder and Chef Palmer. All 12 of the knives sold through the event’s silent auction, with a portion of proceeds going back to Pigs & Pinot charities.


During the course of the 2017 Pigs & Pinot weekend, the event surpassed over one million dollars raised cumulatively for its local and national charities.  All net proceeds benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America, as well as local Sonoma County scholarships and charities.  The current list of 2017 beneficiaries includes:

  • Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign
  • Culinary Scholarship, Culinary Institute of America
  • Pigs & Pinot Wine Scholarship, Sonoma State University
  • Pigs & Pinot Wine Scholarship, The Court of Master Sommelier Level I
  • Children of Sonoma Vineyard Workers Scholarships
  • Healdsburg Education Foundation
  • Global Student Embassy
  • Various local community sports and art organizations helping families in need

A detailed summary of Pigs & Pinot beneficiaries can be found here. The complete list of 2017 beneficiaries and total amount of funds raised will be available in the coming weeks.


Pigs & Pinot would not be possible without its generous sponsors including: DCS / Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Alaska Mileage Plan Visa Signature, FIJI Water, Encore Events, Relish Culinary Adventures, h2hotel, and Hotel Healdsburg, as well as participating wineries and restaurants, which help to make this weekend celebration possible. A complete list of our sponsors can be found here.

Tribute to Pigs and Pinot

For those who weren’t able to attend the official event, Hotel Healdsburg and Dry Creek Kitchen are continuing the celebration through mid-April with special Pigs & Pinot menus, hotel packages and winery excursions. For complete details, visit DryCreekKitchen.com