All-Star Chefs & Top Pinot Noir Producers Gather in Healdsburg for the Tenth Annual Pigs & Pinot Celebration
raising funds for Share our Strength and local Sonoma County charities

March 24, 2015, Healdsburg, Calif. – On March 20-21, pork and Pinot Noir lovers from around the country gathered in Sonoma wine country for Chef Charlie Palmer’s Tenth Annual Pigs & Pinot weekend, held at the award-winning Hotel Healdsburg and Dry Creek Kitchen. Honored guest chefs, Nancy Oakes, Ludo Lefebvre, Bryan Voltaggio, and Michael Kornick, along with top Pinot Noir-producing winemakers, lent their talents to raise serious funds for Share our Strength and local Sonoma County charities and organizations. This celebrated epicurean weekend of Pinot Noir and pork is sponsored in part by Visa Signature® and DCS Appliances.

“This was truly the culmination of ten amazing years celebrating the marriage of pork and Pinot Noir,” says Chef Charlie Palmer of the successes of the weekend’s events, “We have been incredibly fortunate to have such immense support from our Pigs & Pinot team, celebrity chefs, Pinot producers, and Sonoma County’s food and wine community. This support has allowed us to raise over $600,000 for Share our Strength and local Sonoma County scholarships and charities over the course of ten years.”

– Award Winners & Event Highlights –

Friday, March 20: Taste of Pigs & Pinot
Over 600 Guests Wined & Dined on 60 Pinot Noirs & 30 Pork Tastings
The sold-out benefit kicked off with Friday’s Taste event featuring over 60 Pinot Noirs alongside inspired pork tastings including:
• Charlie Palmer and Andrew Wilson’s (Dry Creek Kitchen) Herb Marinated Pork Loin with Parmesan Risotto and Natural Jus
• Ludo Lefevre’s (Petit Trois, Trois Mec and Ludo Bird) BBQ Carrots & Smoked Pork Tartare with Yogurt, Blood Orange
• Nancy Oakes’ (Boulevard) Abalone & Guanciale with Black Fried Rice, and Honshimeji Mushroom, Enoki
• Michael Kornick’s (mk The Restaurant) County Barbeque Rib Tips with Cheddar Grits and Greens
• Bryan Voltaggio’s (VOLT and RANGE) Kimchi & Dr. Pepper BBQ Pork Ribs with Coleslaw and Jalapeño Jack Cheese Biscuits
• Louis Maldonado’s (Spoonbar) Braised Pork Sope with Crisp Vegetables and Mole

Many notable Healdsburg restaurants joined in the pork party, including:
• Barndiva’s Quail Egg BLT
• Chalkboard’s Hamachi Tartare with Smashed Avocado, Edwards Country Ham and Toasted Seeds
• Diavola’s Pork Jowl with Smoked Black Cod, Prunes and Potatoes

Friday evening also included the reveal of the highly anticipated Pinot Cup winner. The notable judging panel of the 2015 Pinot Cup—a blind tasting competition among 60 hand-picked Pinot Noirs—included BevMo Senior Vice President Bob Paulinski, Director of Beverage and Hospitality at Capitol Grill and Seasons 52 George Miliotes, and Master Sommelier Keith Goldston.

Congratulations to:
• Pinot Cup Winner: Paul Hobbs 2012, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros Pinot Noir
• Pinot Cup Runner-up: Bacigalupi 2012, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

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

Tournament of the Pig – Mario Cantone Raises an Additional $12,500 for Pigs & Pinot Charities
On Saturday morning guests filed into Relish Culinary Adventures to attend the first seminar, “Tournament of the Pig,” which divided the four gala toques 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 Holdredge Wines. Nancy Oakes and Michael Kornick teamed up against Bryan Voltaggio and Ludo Lefebvre and a 150-pound pig was provided by DG-Langley Farms along with a market basket of secret ingredients to inspire two creations from each chef team, one People’s 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 between $2,000-2,500 each, amounting in an extra $12,500 raised for Pigs & Pinot charities. Each team was assisted by Chef Palmer, Chef Andrew Wilson (Dry Creek Kitchen), and sous chefs from their respective restaurants. Team Kornick and Oakes won the overall competition with the People’s Choice vote for their pork three ways dish of pork cutlet, pork meatballs, and pork belly. Voltaggio and Lefebvre won the Judge’s Choice vote for their dish of pork tenderloin, sausage and charcoal gravy, charred cabbage, and wakame.

Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown Seminar – 16 Pinots, 4 Master Sommeliers, 1 Winner
At the “March-Madness” style competition led by master sommeliers—Keith Goldston, Jay James, 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 2015 Smackdown King for selecting the winning wine.
• Winner: Wayfarer 2012, The Traveler, Fort Ross Seaview, Sonoma Coast, California; selected by Michael Jordan
• Runner-up: Tendril 2012, “White Label” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon; selected by Keith Goldston

Dry Creek Kitchen Gala Dinner & Spoonbar Swine & Wine 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 Alex Gambal, MacPhail, Peter Michael, Pisoni, and Merry Edwards.

Hotel Healdsburg’s sister property h2hotel also joined in the celebration by offering a “Swine & Wine” dinner prepared by h2hotel’s Spoonbar Executive Chef Louis Maldonado with an innovative, Asian-inspired menu with wines paired by two Sonoma County cult favorite producers, Brogan Cellars and George Wine Company.

In ten years, Pigs & Pinot has raised over $600,000 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 2014 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
• Tuesdays in the Plaza
• Various local community sports and art organizations helping families in need of assistance
A detailed summary of Pigs & Pinot beneficiaries can be found at The complete list of 2015 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: Visa Signature, DCS / Fisher & Paykel Appliances, 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 by visiting

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 the Tribute page on

Available by request:
• Complete weekend photography
• Gala dinner menu and wine pairings
• Dishes and wines served during Taste
• Bios of participating chefs and winemakers
• Notable guests


Media Contact: Christa Weaving | 212.755.7050 x21

About Charlie Palmer Group
The Charlie Palmer Group grew out of Aureole, American cuisine pioneer Charlie Palmer's landmark restaurant, originally located in a historic townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Today, Palmer's flagship Aureole is strategically located at the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. Other coast-to-coast locations encompass an expanding collection of award-winning restaurants—many in equally significant historical locations—innovative wine shops, and luxurious boutique hotels, each designed with distinctive personalities to provide unique experiences. These properties include: Aureole, Charlie Palmer Steak (New York City), Upper Story by Charlie Palmer, Charlie Palmer at The Knick, and Crimson & Rye (New York), Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Charlie Palmer Steak at The Four Seasons Hotel (Las Vegas), Charlie Palmer Steak (Washington, DC), Charlie Palmer Steak and Briscola (Reno, Nevada), Dry Creek Kitchen at The Hotel Healdsburg (Sonoma County, California), the soon-to open Harvest Table and Harvest Table and Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer (St. Helena, CA), Burritt Room + Tavern and Mystic Hotel (San Francisco, CA). Learn more at