Napa is home to 400 wineries with some of the world’s best wines and top restaurants like The French Laundry. The rolling hills of vineyards provide an idyllic backdrop for outdoor events, tastings and teambuilding activities.
The 180-room Silverado Resort & Spa is a 1,200-acre retreat located at the gateway into Napa. Executive Chef Jeffrey Jake has worked in wine country for years and is known for pairing local, seasonal ingredients with Napa Valley wines.
“We have a farm-to-table buffet and have done wine dinners with vintner partners and pair food stations with suggested wines,” Jake says. “The food is Mediterranean focused, which of course is a wine-friendly cuisine.”
While the resort has done banquets for as many as 1,000 pax, the seasonal Royal Oak restaurant can host groups of up to 18 and The Grill, up to 24. At the Royal Oak, guests can choose from area specialties such as oysters, artichokes and abalone. At The Grill, they can expect the more home-style offerings of baby back ribs, country fried chicken or a Kobe beef burger.
Attendees can also opt to get their feet dirty during the resort’s Cabernet Chaos activity, which is like something straight out of an “I Love Lucy” episode. Teams compete against one another to stomp as many wine grapes as they can. They then have to guide the grape juice down a trough into a carafe being balanced on an 8-foot teeter-totter. The better the balance, the more juice the team gets. The team with the most juice is determined the winner.
Further south, visit San Luis Obispo County where attendees will experience the same food and wine offerings as its northern counterpart, with less of a crowd and often times less of a price tag.
Robert Hall Winery, for instance, offers a slew of meeting options in which groups can taste the winery’s award-winning varietals. The 19,000-sf wine caverns accommodate up to 130 people, allowing groups to dine and taste amidst the oak wine barrels being stored. Attendees won’t want to miss the 2006 Vintage Port, which won a Gold Medal at the 15th Annual Grape & Gourmet.
In front of the Eberle Winery tasting room, guests are greeted by a bronze boar (“Eberle” means “small boar” in German), a replica of the original bronze Porcellino in Florence, Italy. Tradition has it that it’s good luck to rub the boar’s nose and toss a coin into the water below. Inside, attendees can sip on a variety of wines, including the 2011 Syrah, Steinbeck Vineyard, which was named one of the Top 100 Most Exciting Wines of 2012 by Wine Spectator. For groups up to 120 pax, enjoy the wine with a gourmet picnic or barbecue on the scenic Vineyard Deck overlooking the Coastal Mountain Range.