V Foundation for Cancer Research Sonoma Epicurean Weekend Raises Over $3.4 Million

Cancer is a devastating disease that affects millions of people. While research and advancements in specific cancer types have made great strides, there is still much to be done in the fight against this illness. That’s why events like the 3rd annual V Foundation for Cancer Research Sonoma Epicurean weekend are so important and impactful.

This four-day event, held March 21-24, in the picturesque setting of Sonoma County’s wine country, raised an impressive $3.4 million to support cutting-edge cancer research initiatives. 

Sonoma Epicurean showcased delicious food and wine while also highlighting themes of lifestyle, wellness, and sustainability – proving that giving back can also be enjoyable and educational.

Dr. Karen Horton at Epic Feast & Gala Auction at Montage Healdsburg. Photo Credit: Bob McClenahan.


The event kicked off on Thursday, March 21st, with the Vintner Showcase Reception at Montage Healdsburg. Private Epicurean Winery Dinners followed, with every dish prepared to perfection.

Guests enjoy the wine and view at the Kistler Vineyards Dinner. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

With a lineup of top-notch Northern California chefs such as Charlie Palmer and Dustin Valette, accompanied by wines from renowned Sonoma County vintners like Arista Winery and Kistler Winery, guests were treated to a one-of-a-kind dining experience. 

Celebrity Chef Charlie Palmer visits with guests at the Arista Winery Dinner. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

And the excitement didn’t end there – after indulging in exquisite culinary delights, the night continued at Roof 106 at The Matheson on the Healdsburg Square with the Epic After Party.

Chef/Owner Dustin Valette at the Epic After Party on Roof 106 at The Matheson in Healdsburg. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.


Friday’s events featured the Artisan Series, an array of fully immersive activities, from outdoor adventures led by “Survivor” winner Ethan Zohn to tranquil yoga sessions at Bricoleur Vineyards.

Attendees display their skills at the “Survivor Mindset” event at Three Sticks Winery. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The pinnacle of the evening was the Epic Party at Bacchus Landing, where guests bid on rare wines or simply indulged in gourmet bites while mingling with notable local wine experts.

Guests enjoying food and wine during the Epic Party at Bacchus Landing. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.


Saturday’s events were particularly impactful as attendees engaged with scientists at the forefront of cutting-edge colorectal cancer research. The day began with a Wellness Breakfast, promoting healthy lifestyle changes for cancer prevention.  

Breakfast was followed by the educational and inspiring EpiCUREean Symposium where attendees learned about advancements and breakthroughs in colorectal cancer treatment options. This year’s Fund-A-Need focus was solely on colorectal cancer research, emphasizing its importance in improving survival rates.

“It’s incredible to have so many strong advocates for groundbreaking cancer research come together for an event like Sonoma Epicurean,” said Susanna Greer, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at the V Foundation. “It serves as a valuable reminder of how far every dollar goes when it’s granted to the best researchers in the nation. The V Foundation invests in scientists who are willing to explore the most challenging and complex questions in cancer research, and that’s when lifesaving breakthroughs happen.”

(L-R) EpiCUREan Symposium presenters Dr. Maayan Levy, Ph.D, Dr. Selma Masri, Ph.D., and Dr. Wenhan Zhu, Ph.D, with V Foundation Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Susanna F. Greer, Ph.D. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

As a surgeon and a scientist with a Master of Science in Cancer Research, I was particularly interested to hear directly from the researchers from Vanderbilt University, who are studying the influence of lifestyle factors such as circadian rhythm disruptions, diet and gut bacteria on a startling increased risk of colorectal cancer – particularly in young people.  

The extraordinary Sonoma Epicurean weekend concluded with the Epic Feast & Gala Auction at Montage Healdsburg. The evening was co-hosted by Shae Cornette, ESPN SportsCenter host, and Devon Still, former NFL standout defensive end and 2015 recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

(L-R) ESPN Sports Center host Shae Cornette and Devon Still, former NFL standout defensive end, kick off the Gala Auction at Montage Healdsburg. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The night was filled with excitement as Emmy award-winning radio and TV personality Liam Mayclem auctioneered for over 20 unbelievable lots.

Dr. Karen Horton with Liam Mayclem.

The top lot sold for $420,000 and featured a dinner party for 18 hosted by Chef Dustin Valette, Golden Globe winner Teri Hatcher, and Emmy award-winning wine expert Leslie Sbrocco.

Award-winning actor Teri Hatcher and renowned sommelier Debbie Zachareas celebrate the top lot. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.
(L-R) Survivor Africa Season 3 winner Ethan Zohn and Auctioneer Liam Mayclem celebrate a winning bid with Thomas Obrey. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Leslie Sbrocco was this year’s Sonoma Epicurean honoree. In addition to being a beloved television personality, author and authority on wine, food, and travel, Leslie is also a survivor of colorectal cancer. Her passion for this cause shone through as she shared her journey and rallied the crowd to support further research efforts.

(L-R) Leslie Sbrocco and Dr. Karen Horton at Epic Feast & Gala Auction at Montage Healdsburg. Photo Credit: Bob McClenahan.

“Joining the V Foundation for this remarkable event has been a special way to share my own story as a colorectal cancer thriver and to support an organization that is changing the future of cancer research,” said Sbrocco. “Each day brought a new opportunity to connect with others who are equally passionate about this cause, all in a spectacular region of Wine Country. Sonoma Epicurean is truly the best of the best in every aspect: food, wine, and philanthropy.”

Millions Raised for Cancer Research

The room erupted in cheers as the final gavel came down at an incredible 3.4 million dollars. It was an unforgettable evening that inspired and motivated attendees to continue making a difference in the fight against colorectal cancer.

Auctioneer Liam Mayclem, Co-Chair Jessica Kilcullen and Co-Chair Stuart Bryan celebrate $3.4 million raised at the Gala Auction. Photo Credit: V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The V Foundation’s wine country events have raised nearly $170 million for cancer research over the last 25 years. Since the V Foundation’s inception in 1993, the organization has awarded over $353 million in cancer research grants to world-class scientists at top cancer centers nationwide.  

The 4th annual V Foundation Sonoma Epicurean weekend is March 20-23, 2025. 

Karen M. Horton, MD, FACS

Dr. Karen Horton is an internationally Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, a fitness enthusiast, proud mom to fraternal twin girls, and devoted wife of nearly 3 decades. A surgeon’s daughter, she is proud to have built a successful, women-focused boutique private practice in Pacific Heights. Featuring a brand new Quad A-certified, fully equipped operating room, Dr. Horton offers her patients the highest level of aesthetic care, both surgical and non-surgical, in a modern, bright and discrete setting. She considers it an honor and a privilege to care for her patients! To learn more about Dr. Horton, visit www.drkarenhorton.com and follow her on social at @drkarenhorton.