Pigs & Pinot 2019 Recap

On March 15-16, pork and Pinot Noir lovers from around the country gathered in Sonoma wine country for Chef Charlie Palmer’s 14th Annual Pigs & Pinot weekend, held at the award-winning Hotel Healdsburg and Dry Creek Kitchen. Honored guest chefs, Dante Boccuzzi, Nancy Oakes, Rick Moonen, and Joe Youkhan, along with world-class Pinot Noir 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 $1.3 million dollars. This celebrated epicurean weekend of Pinot Noir and pork is sponsored in part by DCS Appliances by Fisher & Paykel®, Niman Ranch, Fiji Water, Encore Events and Relish Culinary Adventures.

“This is our fourteenth year of Pigs & Pinot.” says Chef Charlie Palmer, “That means thousands of pork dishes served and countless gallons of Pinot consumed. But more so, it means over $1.3 million dollars contributed to our Pigs & Pinot beneficiaries, which include Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign, Sonoma County Education programs, and dozens of local sports and community programs. Our goal is to constantly enrich this community - where we live, eat, and drink -- and I am proud to continue this longstanding commitment to Sonoma County, along with Daryl, Hotel Healdsburg, Dry Creek Kitchen, and our whole team involved in Pigs & Pinot.”

Taste of Pigs & Pinot

On Friday March 15th, over 600 Guests Wined & Dined on 60 Pinot Noirs, 2 Rosés & 25 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) Charcuterie Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Shoulder with charred spring garlic-ricotta gnudi, spring onion purée, Romano-Palmer coppa, espelette-pecorino focaccia crumble
  • Joe Youkhan’s (Aussie Pies/ DCS by Fisher & Paykel) Peruvian Grilled Pork Belly with cinnamon-roasted sweet potato, aji Amarillo aioli, salsa criolla
  • Nancy Oakes’s (Boulevard) Carnitas Fritter with avocado, huitlacoche, queso fundido
  • Rick Moonen’s (Perry’s Restaurants) Apple-Smoked Ham Banh Mi with pickled vegetables, pickled vegetables, pork pâté, cilantro, salted cucumber, spicy noir peanut butter
  • Dante Boccuzzi’s (Dante Dining Group) Pernil with tostones, meyer lemon salsa verde, tomatillos, pepitas

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

  • Francisco Lopez, Jr.’s (Charlie Palmer Steak Napa) Pulled Pork and Brown Butter Polenta Cake
  • Dino Bugica’s (Diavola + Geyserville Gun Club & Lounge) Stuffed Pork Belly Agrodolce
  • Valette (Dustin Valette) Grapevine Smoked Porchetta with fermented pinot noir skin mostarda, pickled dried cherry, puffed pig’s ear
  • Spoonbar’s (Matthew D’Ambrosi) Fried Oyster Rockefeller with chorizo spinach cream, prosciutto chip
  • SingleThread Farm – Restaurant – Inn (Kyle Connaughton) Slow-Cooked Porchetta with farm greens, ginger, konbu
  • Journeyman Meat Co. (Pete Seghesio) Sopressata di Sonoma

Pinot Cup

Friday evening also included the reveal of the highly anticipated Pinot Cup winner. The notable judging panel of the 2019 Pinot Cup—a blind tasting competition among 60 hand-picked Pinot Noirs—included Mike Dunn, Wine Contributor, The Sacramento Bee, Keith Goldson, Master Sommelier, and Barry Herbst, Wine Director, Bottle Barn.

Congratulations to:

Pinot Cup Winner
Baletto Vineyards
2016 Baletto 18 Barrel, Sonoma Coast, California

Pinot Cup Runner-up
Papapietro Perry Winery
2016 Papapietro Perry Winery Peters Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 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 Sua Sponte Cellars.

Nancy Oakes and Joe Youkhan teamed up against Dante Boccuzzi, Rick Moonen with a 150-pound pig provided by Niman Ranch, 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 $2,500 each, amounting in an extra $12,500 raised for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Team Oakes/Youkhan won the Judges’ Choice vote for their Confit Pork with smoked shoyu glaze served with gooseberry jam, radicchio slaw on a biscuit. For Peoples’ Choice, guests had the unenviable task of choosing between Team Oakes/Youkhan’s Pork “Schnitzel” made with sunflower and sesame seed crusted tenderloin, sumac-spiced pecan slaw, fennel-rhubarb caper relish, and mustard foam and the succulent Miso Glazed Pork Loin with chilled soba salad, purple shiso from Team Boccuzzi/Moonen. While both dishes impressed, the pork “Schnitzel” won the People’s Choice vote by a slim margin.

Ultimate Pinot Smackdown Seminar

16 Pinots, 4 Master Sommeliers, 1 Winner

At the “March-Madness” style competition led by master sommeliers—Gillian Balance, Fred Dame, Keith Goldston 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 the following wineries with top accolades:

Croix Estate
2016 Croix Estate South Block Six, Platt Vineyard, Russian River Valley, California
Selected by Keith Goldston

2016 Siduri Garys’ Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, California
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 two limited-production Pinot Noirs from highly acclaimed wineries including CIRQ Estate, Kokomo Winery, Maison MC Thiriet, Merry Edwards and Wayfarer.

Spoonbar Swine & Wine Dinner

Hotel Healdsburg’s sister property h2hotel also joined in the celebration by offering a “Swine & Wine” dinner prepared by Executive Chef Matthew D’Ambrosi and Ryan Fancher, Executive Chef, Hotel San Luis Obispo. The menu also showcased two of Sonoma County’s boutique Pinot Noir Producers: Croix Estate and Freeman Vineyard & Winery.


During the course of the 2019 Pigs & Pinot weekend, the event surpassed $1.3 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 2019 beneficiaries include:

  • 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
  • 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 2019 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, Niman Ranch, 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, For complete details, visit DryCreekKitchen.com