The mountains were calling, so Dave Villali answered “yes” to a buyout from Intel and the opportunity to work as a ski instructor at Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon. After four years, he joined the food and beverage department at Timberline Lodge and became wine manager in 1992. 

Villali and his team have earned the lodge a reputation as one of the best places to sip and savor regional wines from Oregon and Washington. His interest started when Timberline staff went to nearby wine country to meet the winemakers, and Villali began assisting with wine orders. 

The timing was ideal as Richard L. Khonstamm, president and area operator of Timberline Lodge and Ski Area from 1955 to 1992, wanted the lodge to reflect a sense of place and that place was a location “between two growing and interesting wine regions,” Villali explains. Today, wines by the glass at all Timberline Lodge dining outlets are from the Northwest and of the 800 wines offered, less than 100 are from elsewhere. 

He also credits expanded involvement of staff as key to the wine program’s success. “I ended up putting the reps on a schedule so that our staff could sit down weekly and taste and talk about the wines,” he says. 

Winemakers in both states have introduced varietals new to the region as temperatures have become warmer and summers longer since the late 1980s and early 1990s. “There is an explosion of varietals we weren’t seeing in the early days,” Villali notes. “Oregon and Washington are producing Italian varietals that people would have never imagined.”

Timberline Lodge has held several wine dinners for corporate groups, and they can take part in scheduled Silcox Hut Winemakers Dinners, where 24 guests are transported by snowcat for a dinner and wine-tasting experience. Wine vault tours are another option for groups of 10-12, with Villali or staff sharing the Oregon and Washington wine story and leading a tasting. 

“We know about wines from Washington and Oregon and do that one thing really, really well,” he explains. “That has worked out for us.”

Two Roads Hospitality has assumed management of L’Auberge de Sedona and Orchards Inn, which are now part of the Denver-based company’s Destination Hotels collection, which features more than 40 properties. L’Auberge de Sedona features 4,480 square feet of event space in addition to several outdoor venues, 62 luxury cottages, 21 traditional lodgestyle guest rooms and the five-bedroom Creekhouse. Many of the guest rooms feature new furniture and design elements.

 

Kimpton Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona has a new lineup of health-focused team-building and breakout sessions for groups of 10-120 that spotlight relaxation, meditation and clean eating. Examples of these options include experiencing the world-famous Sedona spirituality with guided meditation breaks in meeting rooms along with chair massages and yoga classes. Groups also can get creative with meeting room setups so they feature lounge furniture, yoga balls and mats, and cocktail tables to provide more room for activities.

 

Taliesin West, the winter home and living laboratory of architect Frank Lloyd Wright is available for hosting meetings and events in Scottsdale. The venue offers groups of 15-250 the opportunity to immerse themselves in Wright’s world by choosing from nine unique locations or buying out the entire property. The Cabaret Terrace, Garden Room Lawn, Garden Squares, Kiva and Pavilion Terrace are available along with the following four options.