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  • Venue Spotlight: Wente Vineyards

    A day tripper's delight is just 90 minutes from San Francisco.

     
    POSTED April 19, 2017
     

Hundreds of California wineries host corporate and social events in their tasting rooms, on their lawns, or in their wine caves or cellars. But actual sit-down meeting spaces with internet and A/V services are few and far between, which is only part of what makes Wente Vineyards—the oldest family-owned, continuously operated winery in the state—unique. 

Known throughout the Bay Area as one of the region’s top outdoor summer concert venues (James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Jackson Browne and Lynyrd Skynyrd have been headliners at the 1,700-capacity site), Wente attracts corporate groups with additional amenities that include three meeting spaces, an 18-hole, Greg Norman-designed golf course and an acclaimed restaurant with three private dining rooms. Its location in Livermore, part of the verdant Tri-Valley region east of San Francisco, is both refreshingly rural and convenient to the Bay Area.

“We’re a kind of escape location, it’s a very unplugged environment,” says Heather Jones, catering sales director for the company. 

Meeting spaces in the landmark Cresta Blanca Event Center, a Spanish-revival style structure dating back to the late 1800s, include a reception room that can accommodate 150 seated and two smaller venues seating 100 theater-style and 20 in theater or classroom configuration, respectively. Just outside, the Terrace Lawn, which doubles as the concert venue/event space, is a versatile setting for corporate events that can handle 1,000 guests at table rounds. Corporate groups can also purchase sponsor and VIP tables at concert events, and many do, Jones says.

The award-winning Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, known for alfresco seating on an expansive veranda, also offers private dining rooms seating 10 to 50, while the nearby Historic Sandstone Caves provide intimate, candlelit options for up to 60 guests. A tasting room and The Grill at the adjacent golf course also are available for private functions. Parties looking for a truly intimate and private venue can rent Murrieta’s Well, a neighboring historic winery that recently underwent a $4 million renovation and offers a vineyard patio and rustic barrel room that can comfortably seat up to 110.

A new trend is sweeping across the Chicago event industry, unifying the people that take part in producing live experiences with the places that host them. Established event production and catering companies have ventured into opening their own well-equipped spaces, designed for planners, by planners. We took a look at three trailblazers—Kehoe Designs, Paramount Events and The Revel Group—that are making events feel right at home.

The Geraghty from Kehoe Designs

 

Porsche roared into Southern California recently with the opening of the German car manufacturer’s Porsche Experience Center (PEC) in Carson. A car lover’s Disneyland, the PEC can turn a corporate meeting into a true driving adventure

 

This is the kind of cocktail you don’t want to attempt to reproduce at home. To create that rosemary mint foam you will need both a nitrous-oxide whipper and an eyedropper (to dispense precisely two drops of rosemary essential oil). It’s the type of complex specialty drink you can find only at specialty bars, in this case the newcomer Mezcal Bar, which is tucked behind a curtain at the West Hollywood restaurant Laurel Hardware, and features nearly 100 different Mezcals sourced from more than 50 distillers.