Venue Spotlight: Wente Vineyards

  • 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.

On Jan. 30, Meetings Professionals International Southern California Chapter held its 2018 “State of the Industry” luncheon at the Pasadena Convention Center. Amanda Armstrong, CMP, incoming chair of the MPI International Board of Directors, was the keynote speaker. In her address, she encouraged MPI members to volunteer. “Find something you’re passionate about and raise your hand. Volunteering is a great way to try out new skills. Don’t be afraid to be a rookie.”

 

When guests walk into the cathedrallike lobby of the new Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, they’re greeted with a gasp-inducing view of “Big Blue” right outside the soaring window wall at the Great Room’s far end. No road or buildings block the vaulted panorama; the only objects between glass and water are a strip of vibrant golf-course green and a few scattered pines on a west-facing shoreline serving up peachy sunset views.

 

Here are some options for smaller groups and quick getaways.