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celebration in napa

foodmanchu Feb 19, 2012 02:50 PM

hi there. we will be celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary this summer by renting a house in napa and i would like to plan one very special dinner. i am picture a private cave or outdoor dining at a winery. any suggestions?

  1. CarrieWas218 Feb 19, 2012 03:46 PM

    The wineries that offer dinner in their caves work with the local caterers - your best bet is to contact one of them (Melissa Teaf, Elaine Bell, Knickerbockers) to learn who might be available to accommodate your party.

    This is especially critical as these caves book up months in advance...

    4 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
      foodmanchu Feb 19, 2012 03:53 PM

      thanks, carrie. so you think the way to go is to find a caterer first, not a location?

      1. re: foodmanchu
        CarrieWas218 Feb 19, 2012 04:31 PM

        I think you will have a much easier time finding a location through a caterer. There are hundreds of caves in the valley and only a few are amenable to renting out to events.

        The local caterers know where these caves are and - honestly - the three caterers I mentioned are the tops in Napa so one is just as good as another (I used Knickerbockers for my company Christmas party in the downtown Vinoce winery), but have dealt with all three in the past). They will know the layouts of the properties and which ones are more amenable to your size party.

        Also, you might have a party of 12 and find a location that is better suited to a party of 50. The caterer would have suggestions where your party would be more comfortable for its size AND budget.

        If you want to see what types of venues might be available, I would suggest searching through HereComesThe Guide.com, although I know for a fact that a lot of wineries do not put their caves on that site because they want to avoid weddings and just stick to catered private events.

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          maria lorraine Feb 20, 2012 11:27 PM

          My favorite by far is Feast catering out of Santa Rosa.
          Click on Affiliates in the upper right hand corner to see the list of wineries by region.

          I love Peter McCaffrey's work with Wine Valley Catering in Napa
          Click Venues on the website to see the list of wineries.

          Both companies work in wineries in both Napa Valley and Sonoma County/Healdsburg.

          Slightly different opinion from Carrie, but we agree on Knickerbockers. Good food,
          wonderful people, though the food is less elegant. I'm not wild about the food from Melissa Teaff, and I think Elaine Bell's approach is expensive and her concepts somewhat dated.

          But that's just my two cents.

          1. re: maria lorraine
            CarrieWas218 Feb 21, 2012 08:59 AM

            Maria Lorraine is more in the know; I haven't worked with Teaff or Bell in several years. Just Knickerbockers recently and - yes - it was not high-end elegant but perfect for a holiday office party in a cave; low-key and affordable.

    2. b
      bilyang Feb 21, 2012 02:18 PM

      Napa is such a beautiful and romatic place. Great choice!

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