Prevue July/August 2015 - (Page 29)

California New cuisine twists and trends from West Coast chefs create enriching experiences for meetings and incentives [ON LOCATION] LAUREL HERMAN / GRISEL DIAZ-ORS C alifornia's wine country, like wine, gets better and better with time. Earlier this year, we checked out five, fourstar properties from California's Central Coast regions of Santa Barbara and Carmel to Northern California's Napa and Sonoma. Each destination exploded with wonderful wine choices to match their stellar reputations along with hyperlocal foodie experiences that groups have come to expect from California-one of the trendsetters of culinary experiences. BACARA RESORT & SPA The spectacular and private location on 78 acres and a 2-mile span of coastline make this Santa Barbara resort a top pick for corporate retreats, conferences and incentive groups. Majestically placed on a cliff looking over the Pacific Ocean with beach access, Bacara offers 70,000 sf of indoor and outdoor event space. All the guest villas and suites, which range from 450 to 3700 sf, have terraces, and many have water views. A renovation of all guest villas and suites was just completed in June, including poster platform beds, pillow top mattresses and bedding by Frette, plus technology upgrades like 48 led TVs and in-room iPad tablets for guest services. Another plus for this property is the Foley Food and Wine Society, which offers wine tastings from the California FoleyJohnson group of wines. One of our favorites was the 2010 Cherryblock from Sebastiani. Off-site, the resort offers "Bacara Crush" teambuilding during harvest season. It's a hands-on harvest experience where groups work alongside Santa Barbara County winemakers and producers- walking the vines, sorting grapes and assisting with punch downs. Bacara Crush is very interactive and educational, offering no shortage of wine tastings! At the end of the day, groups get a signed certificate from the winemaker that lists the wine they helped to produce. A modified version of this experience is available year-round. When it comes to food at Bacara, Executive Chef Vincent Lesage says not to miss their bistro bolognese, a mix of three types of meats cooked together with tomato sauce and finished with a dash of cream. Lesage also recommends the Foley Pinot Noir or the Trinitas Chardonnay. CARMEL VALLEY RANCH This relaxed yet chic corporate retreat is set to unveil 30 new onebedroom suites this July. At 750 sf each, the 181 suites, accented by natural tones of honey, earthy browns and greys, and reclaimed woods, stone and leather, will offer guests privacy and luxury with valley and vineyard views. The resort is a haven for creative and local food and wine experiences. The 500-acre scavenger hunt, Ranch Race, for instance, ends in the Ranch Chef Challenge, which allows groups of 20 to 60 to experience what it feels like to be a culinary celebrity. Elsewhere at the ranch, an expanded equestrian | 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue July/August 2015

Planner’s Pick: Washington, D.C
Fresh Meets: Loews Hotels & Resorts
Bureau Buzz: Las Vegas CVB
Good Business: The Empty Suitcase Campaign
Sea Shores: Foodie Cruises on the Rise
Culinary Combos
On Location: Puerto Rico
On Location: Dominican Republic
On Location: Le Meridien New Orleans
Checkout: Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Hotel

Prevue July/August 2015