If anyone knows their pizza-and-wine pairings, it’s the director of The Godfather. Now his winery, Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County, California, has launched its third annual Perfect Your Pizza competition.

Home pizza chefs can submit an original pizza recipe and wine pairing for the chance to win “the ultimate pizza-and-wine-lover’s trip of a lifetime to Italy” or a $25,000 cash prize. Four finalists will also receive an expenses-paid trip to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County to compete in a live cook-off this October for the grand prize.

Now in its third year, the Perfect Your Pizza competition lets pizza and wine lovers explore their love of this tried-and-true pairing by flexing their recipe-creation skills. For 2024, the grand prize has been amped up to include the option of a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses-paid Italian getaway. The winner and a guest will be flown directly to Rome, where they’ll gain insider access through a specialized tour of the world-famous pizza scene in Italy’s capital city. From Rome, the winner will travel to Naples, the birthplace of Neapolitan pizza, where they will enjoy five-star accommodations and a carefully curated itinerary of cheese & crust-filled expeditions highlighting the city’s uniquely passionate pizza culture one bite at a time.

Related: What’s your pizzeria’s pain point? Get solutions from our experts at PMQ’s Pizza Power Forum September 4-5 in Atlanta

The pizza lover’s Italian dream trip is the latest creative vehicle that the winery has unveiled to honor its belief in harmonizing the equally delicious worlds of wine and pizza, as 2023 saw the launch of a public hotline devoted to pizza and wine pairing tips.

In addition to the upgraded grand prize, the final cook-off to crown the winner will take place on October 12 at the winery estate in Geyserville, California. It’s now a public event, and attendees will watch the contestants prepare their pizza entries and experience the pairings themselves, along with wine tastings and more. Tickets can be purchased beginning September 9 through the Francis Ford Coppola Winery website.

“Our mission is to forge a stronger connection between pizza and wine, while showing Americans that the right wine can take your pizza experience to the next level,” noted Gabriela Becker, vice president of marketing for Coppola Wines. “In the spirit of discovering the perfect Coppola wine and pizza pairing, we’re excited to offer the chance to travel to pizza’s homeplace to inspire wine and pizza lovers everywhere.”

To help ensure high standards for the Perfect Your Pizza contest, Coppola has again enlisted one of the country’s foremost pizza authorities: Dan Richer, author of New York Times best-selling cookbook, The Joy of Pizza: Everything You Need to KnowHis bank of custom-created recipes in support of the contest (with high-res photographs) are available upon request.

Submissions for the “Perfect Your Pizza” contest opened on July 1, and the deadline for entry is August 31. Contestants may enter by visiting coppolaperfectyourpizza.com and providing their ingredients list, full recipe and the story of the inspiration behind their entry. Professional pizza chefs are not qualified to enter the contest.

Food & Ingredients