Napa: A Place That Cultivates Learning

December 04, 2014 | 1774 Views

Napa: A Place That Cultivates Learning

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

Napa, California, is known for many things. Most people, of course, think of it as the source of the most spectacular wines produced in North America. Its dry, temperate climate and the unique diversity of its soil provide the perfect setting for growing many different varieties of grapes, and as a result the valley has become the home to over 400 different wineries. 

In addition, the region has become synonymous with world-class cuisine, as it features a multitude of creative chefs overseeing the menus at highly lauded restaurants. Napa is also famous for its scenic hot-air balloon rides, luxurious spas, numerous outdoor recreation areas, and burgeoning arts scene. 

I’ve been fortunate to visit a half dozen times in the last decade, and for me, there’s one more item I would add to Napa’s list: learning. Each time I’ve come to this amazing region, I have learned something new. For starters, prior to my first trip back in 2003, about all I could tell you was that some wines were red and some were white. I’ve now learned all about how the grapes grow, how the soil affects their flavor, and how different varieties are blended together. And although I’m definitely not skilled enough to qualify as a foodie, my culinary adventures in Napa have taught me that truly terrific flavor combinations can be produced when one uses the very best ingredients. I also took my very first photography class in Napa during a weekend visit a few years ago with some friends, and learned about the history of the downtown area on a guided walking tour during that same trip. 

This valley is also where, at a series of CHART Training Summits, I first took the Myers-Briggs test and discovered my personality type (fyi, I’m an INTJ), and where I first came to understand how interjecting graphics into a training program could help visual learners grasp my materials better. 

I will always consider the Napa Valley to be a place the cultivates learning because of these experiences, so it feels very appropriate to me that CHART’s 89th Hospitality Training Conference will be taking place there next February. Our signature T3 event will feature competency-based tracks that will heighten your knowledge and improve your skills as a trainer, unparalleled networking opportunities with visionary hotel and restaurant professionals, and the return of Ty  Bennett, our highest rated CHART keynote speaker, with an all-new presentation titled “Partnership is the New Leadership.” 

I hope you will register and join me for CHART’s Napa conference so you don’t miss out on what promises to be a transformative experience for those who attend. Come for the wine, the food, the camaraderie, that golden California sunshine…and the learning!

This blog originally appeared as the PresidentTalks article in the December 2014 FlipCHART ###

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