Charlie Palmer’s Pigs & Pinot® 2018 Weekend Recap

All-Star chefs & top Pinot Noir producers gather in Healdsburg for the 13th Annual Pigs & Pinot celebration raising funds for Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign and local Sonoma County charities

Charlie Palmer’s Pigs & Pinot® 2018 Weekend RecapPork and Pinot Noir lovers from around the country gathered in Sonoma wine country for Chef Charlie Palmer’s Thirteenth Annual Pigs & Pinot weekend, held at the award-winning Hotel Healdsburg and Dry Creek Kitchen. Honored guest chefs, Chris Cosentino, Rick Moonen, Bryan Voltaggio, Susan Feniger, and Trevor Bird, 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.

Charlie Palmer’s Pigs & Pinot® 2018 Weekend Recap
Photo by, Damion Hamilton

“This is our thirteenth year of Pigs & Pinot. That means thousands of pork dishes served and countless gallons of Pinot consumed. But more so, it means over a million dollars contributed to our Pigs & Pinot beneficiaries. That breaks down to over $400,000 in local scholarship funds, $200,000 to Sonoma County Education programs, $100,000 to local sports and community programs, and on a national level, $250,000 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. We’ve always aimed 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.” – Chef Charlie Palmer


– Award Winners & Event Highlights –


Friday, March 16: Taste of Pigs & Pinot

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) Bucher Pinot Noir Pork Shoulder with charred leek-Bellwether Farms ricotta gnudi, charcuterie pan sauce, fiore sardo
  • Chris Cosentino’s (Cockscomb, Acacia House, Jackrabbit) Pork Laab with thai basil, cilantro, thai chiles, lime juice, garlic
  • Susan Feniger’s Baby Back Ribs with corn esquite
  • Rick Moonen’s (RM Seafood and Rx Boileroom) Bacon Wrapped Bacon & Egg with brioche toast, tomato jam,  avocado purée, sunny side-up quail egg
  • Bryan Voltaggio’s (Volt, Range, Family Meal, Aggio) Grilled Pork Belly Taco Bar
  • Chef Trevor Bird’s (Fable Kitchen) Nut Fed Pork Terrine with apple, ball park mustard

Many notable Sonoma County restaurants joined in the pork party, including:

  • Diavola’s (Dino Bugica) Pork & Beans
  • Spoonbar’s (Patrick and Casey Van Voorhis) Pinot Noir Braised Pork Belly Agnolotti with juniper, beet chips, baby cabbage greens
  • 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 the2018 Pinot Cup—a blind tasting competition among 60 hand-picked Pinot Noirs—included Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor, Food & Wine, Fred Dame, Master Sommelier, and Bill Hayes, Wine Category Manager, BevMo.

Congratulations to:

  • Pinot Cup Winner:  Wayfarer, 2015 Wayfarer Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, California
  • Pinot Cup Runner-up: Hawley, 2015 Oehlman Vineyard, Russian River Valley, California

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 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 five 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 VML Winery. Susan Feniger, Rick Moonen, and  Bryan Voltaggio teamed up against Chris Cosentino, Trevor Bird, and Scott Romano 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 $2500 each, amounting in an extra $12,500 raised for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. Team Cosentino/Bird/Romano won the Judges’ Choice vote for their Ciasculo Bruschetta with pork tartare, green garlic, hazelnuts and button mushrooms.  Team Voltaggio/Moonen/Feniger won the Peoples’ Choice vote for their Pork Picadillo with Sunchokes and Salsa Verde.

Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown Seminar – 16 Pinots, 4 Master Sommeliers, 1 Winner

At the “March-Madness” style competition led by master sommeliersGillian Balance, Fred Dame, Emily Wines, and Keith Goldston—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 Gillian Balance the 2018 Smackdown Queen for selecting both the winning and runner up wines.

  • Winner: Arista, 2015, U.V. Lucky Well Vineyard, Russian River Valley, California
  • Runner-up: Valette, 2016 Sonoma Mountain, California

Dry Creek Kitchen Gala Dinner & Spoonbar Swine & Wine Dinner

On Saturday night, the Pigs & Pinot six-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 TR Elliott, Rochioli, Gary Farrell, Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, Arista, and Martin’s Lane.

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 Tu David Phu of Chefs Hawker Centre.

During the course of the 2018 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 2018 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
  • Various local community sports and art organizations helping families in need

A detailed summary of Pigs & Pinot beneficiaries can be found at
The complete list of 2018 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, 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 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 

About Charlie Palmer Group
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 and luxurious boutique hotels, each designed with distinctive personalities to provide unique experiences. These properties include: Aureole, Charlie Palmer Steak New York, Upper Story by Charlie Palmer, Charlie Palmer at The Knick, and Crimson & Rye (New York), Aureole, Charlie Palmer Steak Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada), Charlie Palmer Steak DC (Washington, DC), Charlie Palmer Steak Reno (Reno, Nevada), Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg (Sonoma County, California), Charlie Palmer Steak Napa and Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar (Napa Valley, California). Learn more at