Winning Chefs Return For Third Annual Epicurious Vino Challenge

The popular event combines chefs, wine and charity.  

March 22, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Celebrated chefs from Raleigh to the coast once again will compete to create trademark dishes using Hinnant Family Vineyard’s award-winning wines when US Foodservice Raleigh and RHA Howell present the third annual Epicurious Vino Challenge on Saturday, June 4, 2011, at the vineyard in Pine Level, NC. All proceeds will benefit a child or an adult with a disability.

RHA Howell, a non-profit, state-wide organization serving people with disabilities for nearly 40 years, is especially pleased that the award-winning chefs from last year’s Epicurious Vino Challenge have already signed on to compete again.

The 2010 Chef’s Choice Winner, Chef Brian Batistella of Batistella’s New Orleans Kitchen in Raleigh, has agreed to defend his title.

Chef Tom Armstrong with Vinnie’s Steakhouse & Tavern in Raleigh will return for the challenge for the third straight year. Chef Armstrong placed second in the Chef’s Choice category in last year and has been a great friend of RHA Howell’s programs.

Chef Pat Walston of House-Autry Mills in Four Oaks won third place in both the Chef’s Choice and People’s Choice categories last year and will be back, along with Chef Joyce Jenkins of The Serving Spoon Catering Company in Pine Level.  Also returning is Sergeant Kimberly Hall of the “Flying Fork” at Seymour Johnston Air Force Base.

For the “challenge,” these and other professional chefs will vie to see who can come up with the most delicious dish using a Hinnant Family Vineyard wines as a key ingredient. The chef’s pull the name of a wine out of a hat.

The crowd in attendance will enjoy the chef’s creations then choose a People’s Choice Award winner. Executive chefs from US Food Services will name the Chef’s Choice winner through a blind judging.

RHA Howell logo

Presented by RHA Howell, the event is sponsored by US Foodservice of Raleigh and Hinnant Family Vineyards & Winery in Pine Level, along with Print Enterprise and Wake Stone Corporation.

Hinnant is the largest muscadine vineyard in North Carolina, sprawling over 80 acres. Its international award-winning wines range from dry whites and reds to traditional sweet scuppernongs. The Epicurious Vino Challenge will take place inside vineyard’s wedding/banquet facility known as “The Barrell Gallery.”

For more information about signing up to compete, reserving a table, or ticket sales, contact Debbie Valentine or call 919-803-2960.  Tickets will go on sale in April. To learn more about RHA Howell, visit

About RHA Howell, Inc.

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for nearly 40 years. Integrity, high standards for quality, and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell program. RHA Howell is a pioneering force in the field of human services for children and adults across North Carolina with the mission “Opening the world for people with disabilities and in turn, enriching the lives of everyone they touch.” For more information, go to

“Kickin Grass” To Headline “Kickin’ Back at the Vineyard” Benefit for Bear Creek Center

February 29, 2008 (LAGRANGE, NC) — Live bluegrass by “Kickin Grass,” wine tastings, arts and crafts, plenty of food, raffles, games and door prizes – all will be part of “Kickin’ Back at the Vineyard,” a fundraiser to be held at the Hinnant Family Vineyards and Winery on Saturday, May 10, 2008, to benefit the Bear Creek Center for people with disabilities in LaGrange.

Hinnant Family Vineyards, located in Pine Level, will host an afternoon-long event that promises to appeal to anyone who enjoys bluegrass music, fine wine, good food and more within the natural beauty of a working wine vineyard, according to Debbie Valentine, events planner for Bear Creek Center. The vineyards are also conveniently located just off I-95 and Highway 70 between Smithfield and Goldsboro.

Kickin Grass ( will headline the musical part of the day. Billed as “contemporary Carolina bluegrass with traditional roots,” the band has produced two CDs: “Backroads” and “On The Short Rows.” Dave Higgs of Bluegrass Breakdown on Nashville Public Radio said, “The band picks with power and authority and the vocals are sung with passion and grace. And, best of all, along the way, the band has forged its own unique sound. The original tunes are just stellar.”

More live music will be provided by “Digger Foot” and the “Flat Mountain Dulcimers.”

Festivities will begin at noon and continue through 6 p.m. An Arts & Crafts Fair will feature the work of North Caroline artists and craftspeople along with other made-in-North-Carolina products. A live auction is also being planned, including a chance to bid on a collection of antiques. The winery will offer tastings of some of its award-winning wines. Other vendors will be on hand to provide an assortment of food.

“Kickin’ Back at the Vineyard” is sponsored by WKIX – Kix Country (97.7 FM), Southern Pharmacies, Fema Motors and the Hinnant Family Vineyards, which is the largest muscadine vineyard in North Carolina.

Tickets, more sponsorship opportunities and vendor sign-ups are available now. Contact Debbie Valentine at 919-941-0530; For directions to Hinnant Family Vineyards, visit

Bear Creek Center is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities lead meaningful lives.