• Venue Spotlight: Wente Vineyards

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

     
    FROM THE Spring 2017 ISSUE
     

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.

Just when farm-to-table is starting to sound like a cliché, catering pros across California have a new menu of food and beverage offerings to bring to your fetes, retreats and banquets. Feast on these new ideas.


INDIAN LAMB TACOS

No. 1 GLOBAL FUSION

 

May has been FOOD BOWL month in Los Angeles, a 31-day festival of curated events produced by the Los Angeles Times to celebrate the city’s dynamic and diverse culinary scene and bring awareness to food waste and hunger through programs with chefs and food-justice activists. The charity partners include No Kid Hungry, PATH & Food Forward.

 

Fresh sea air, salty breezes, the sound of breaking waves, a view of sailboats on the horizon, sand between your toes on morning beach walks. When it comes to restorative surroundings for meetings and retreats, it doesn’t get any better than California’s coastal havens. And with 3,427 miles of shoreline, the Golden State off ers havens galore. Here are some of our favorites. 

La Jolla