Winemaker Paul Masson probably didn’t realize when he started his legendary winery in 1901 that more than 100 years later, teambuilding events would be held on the same grounds as those on which he grew his California varietals.
Regardless, he’d undoubtedly be happy to know the facility he built in the sun-dappled Northern California hills is nowadays hosting events that bring people together who might not otherwise have the chance to work collaboratively towards a common goal.
On the grounds of what is now known as The Mountain Winery, unique teambuilding activities are held both indoors and out. Robin Daniel, executive assistant at Aruba Networks, says, “I was looking for a beautiful venue that was close to area airports but far enough away from our offices that it felt unique. And because it was for members of the marketing department, the activities were ideal.”
Those ideal activities included several that were well-suited to the venue: wine blending and food creation. For the former, attendees were placed into teams of four to six and given three different varietals of wine to create their own, unique blend. Each team then came up with a name for their creation and was tasked with designing a label for the bottles (which they got to take home). For the latter, team members were provided with ingredients from the venue’s kitchen and given the chance to come up with the best appetizer (a la the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”), which was then judged by the winery’s executive chef.
After undergoing a massive renovation in 2007, The Mountain Winery now hosts events within its Grand Hall (which accommodates 240), outdoor on the patio or on the Chateau Deck. “Companies are looking for an opportunity to get their team members out of their everyday, normal environment,” says Katelyn Studebaker, marketing manager for the winery. “Our events provide guests with a chance to work together in an arena that’s more social and less stressful. It’s awesome to see them walk in with the world on their shoulders and leave feeling relaxed.”
A version of this article appeared in Collaborate magazine.