“Incentives, usually for groups of 30 to
50 people, are very strong right now, which
is a big turnaround from four or five years
ago,” she said. “The allure of Napa is seen
as a nice reward for people.”
Another draw for meetings is the fact
that experiences for groups are anything
but “cookie cutter,” according to Savage.
“Planners are increasingly looking for
experiences that are non-traditional and
creative,” she said. “Napa lends itself to this
perfectly. You can have a chef or winemak-
er come in to talk to the group. You can
arrange a bucket-list activity like balloon-
ing over the vineyards at dawn—a spec-
tacular experience. Or you can do a food
tour on a Segway through downtown Napa
or Yountville, stopping to taste delectable
things along the way.”
A venue showcasing both the food and
wine heritage of the region, CIA at Copia
reopened earlier this year under new own-
ership by the Culinary Institute of America.
The reimagined 80,000-square-foot venue
offers daily cooking and wine-themed
classes, a tasting showcase for local
wineries on a rotation basis, a restaurant,
demonstration kitchens and numerous ar-
eas for private events, including a 600-seat
amphitheater overlooking the Napa River.
Scheduled to open at Copia this year are
the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum,
built to honor the late founder of Wil-
liams-Sonoma, and the Wine Hall of Fame.
Both will feature interactive exhibits on the
history of gastronomy in America. Another
upcoming addition will be the Reserve
Tasting Salon where guests can sample rare
and little-known wines from around the
UPTO WN THEATRE, NAPA
As of press time, the fires that scorched parts of Napa and Sonoma counties as well as other areas of Northern Cal-
ifornia were still causing damage, but coming
under control. The ordeal began the night of
Oct. 8 as high winds and dry conditions fueled
a rash of fires that quickly torched homes
and businesses in various areas in the region.
Fatalities from the fires in Napa, Sonoma as
well as Mendocino counties reached 42 as of
Despite all the devastation, much of the
meetings- and tourism-related businesses in
Napa and Sonoma came through with minor
damage or were unscathed.
According to an update from Visit Napa
Valley, many businesses throughout Napa
Valley were fully reopening about a week after
the fires began.
“We encourage all visitors who have travel
plans to the Napa Valley to confirm their reservations directly with their hotel, winery or other
activity,” said Clay Gregory, president and CEO
of Visit Napa Valley.
Each lodging property in Napa Valley is
handling individual inquiries directly. The
Visit Napa Valley sales team will continue to
communicate updates with meeting planners
and consortiums, as well as share leads with
lodging partners for future business, as usual.
“The Napa Valley spirit of collabora-
tion to rebuild and reopen is on display,”
Gregory said. “Our thoughts remain with
our residents impacted by these wildfires,
including the more than 13,000 that rely on
In Sonoma County, the city of Santa Rosa
was one of the hardest hit, including the loss
of both the Fountaingrove Inn and Hilton
Sonoma Wine Country hotels.
Fires were situated along Sonoma County’s
eastern border, including Sonoma Valley,
Santa Rosa and Geyserville. Western and
southern Sonoma County, as well as the Pacific Ocean coastline, were not impacted.
“While the fires impacted a portion of
Sonoma County, the vast majority of our
scenic beauty, rolling vineyards, amazing wine
and locally grown food remains intact,” said
Tim Zahner, interim CEO of Sonoma County
“If everyone who bought a bottle of Sonoma
County wine last year donated the equivalent
amount to relief efforts, it would go a long way
to helping,” Zahner said.
He added, “When the time is right, we’re
going to need you more than ever to visit and
help Sonoma County’s hospitality community
get back to work. Our 20,000-plus tourism
jobs are among small, locally owned business-
es. We want to see you and welcome you to
the Sonoma County we all love.”
Wineries were also assessing damage. A
note on the website (https://napavintners.
com) for Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) revealed
the association had heard from 275 NVV trade
association members sharing reports about
the condition of their businesses and their
As of Oct. 17, 20 NVV members reported
some degree of damage to their winery, outbuildings or vineyards.
One of Napa’s most renowned wineries,
Signorello Estate, posted its status on its
Signorello Estate’s winery was destroyed
in the wildfires on Monday, October 9. We
are grateful that all 25 of our employees are
safe, and our vineyards and barrel room were
spared from the fire. We can, and we will,
rebuild the winery.
—Ray Signorello Jr. & the team at Signorello Estate
For those wishing to help with Napa County
fire relief and recovery efforts, below are
The Napa Valley Community Disaster
The Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership
For Sonoma, donations for recovery efforts
can be made through local nonprofits,
North Bay Fire Relief
Sonoma County Resilience Fund