It hardly seems like eight years ago that chef Charlie Palmer wowed the Healdsburg area with an innovative fundraiser called Pigs & Pinot. It was a small, hometown function then, designed to raise money for the local school.
Today, the event has grown to a national scale, so popular that it has involved lotteries to score tickets, and this year, the anticipation continues, with a new system where ticket packages will be released on specified days, for a first-come-first-serve luck of the draw.
The crown jewel is The Platinum Pigs & Pinot Package, a new offering, available to just four couples in a single purchase opportunity happening January 8, 2013.
The 8th Annual Pigs & Pinot weekend takes place at Hotel Healdsburg March 22 and March 23, 2013, celebrating the creations of more than 60 wineries and ten chefs who showcase pork and Pinot Noir in all its glory. On the chef side, this year’s participating pork authorities include chef Elizabeth Falkner of Krescendo, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant, Jose Garces of Garces Group, and Craig Stoll of Delfina Restaurant Group. For the winemakers at the headliner gala dinner, look for Brian Maloney of De Loach Vineyards, Caroline Parent of Domaine A.F. Gros, Michael Browne of Kosta Browne Winery, Lee Martinelli of Martinelli Winery, and Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke.
Because the event covers two days, and involves plenty of wine, many attendees choose to stay over at the hotel, or at its sister property, h2hotel just a few blocks away. Rooms sell out quickly, though.
The Platinum Pigs & Pinot Package is pricey to be sure, at $25,000, but it includes three night’s accommodations for four couples in four luxurious Hotel Healdsburg suites, and tickets to all events including Taste of Pigs & Pinot, the Tournament of the Pig and the Ultimate Smackdown seminars, and the Pigs & Pinot Gala Dinner.
Exclusive extras include personal introductions from chef Palmer to the featured gala chefs and winemakers, a private table at the Gala Dinner hosted by the featured gala winemaker of their choice, an exclusive Gala Wine package featuring one bottle from each of the featured gala wineries, and a private tour and tasting at Kosta Browne Winery.
After that package is snapped up on Jan. 8, Pigs & Pinot will release other tickets, including a Visa Signature pre-sale on Jan. 9, and general sales on Jan. 10.
While there’s an undeniable air of exclusivity to the ticket purchase system, one of the reasons Pigs & Pinot remains such a favorite of food and wine fans is that it still rings true with small town spirit. Guests mingle directly with the top name chefs and winemakers, in an intimate setting spanning across the hotel courtyard, in its ground floor salons, and Dry Creek Restaurant, all the while savoring an opulent array of Sonoma County’s finest pork and Pinot.
Tip: Take a little time to explore Wine Country while you’re in between Pigs & Pinot events, with a private limo or Town Car from Pure Luxury Transportation.