Considerations Before Hosting an Event a Holman Ranch

We’re thrilled you’re considering Holman Ranch for your upcoming event. To help with the planning process, please review the following tips and reminders about hosting an event at this private estate.

Décor Safety

You’re welcome to create a soft, romantic ambience with real candles, as long as the flames are contained within the vessel and are not higher than the container. Please skip the confetti, sparklers, birdseed or rice, as they are not permitted on the property.

Décor Set Up

Enjoy the creative freedom to dress up the venue in your own special way. To preserve the beauty of the newly remodeled historic estate, it is required that decor is never permanently secured with items such as nails, screws, tacks, tape (unless it’s painters tape), etc…

Noise Curfew

Dance and celebrate to your hearts’ content until 10:00pm. Keep in mind that all legal venues have a curfew. Holman Ranch is a legal outdoor facility in a residential neighborhood and must comply with a use permit and the Monterey County noise decibel limits. This means that all music must end by 10:00pm sharp and cannot exceed 85db at 50 feet.

To extend the celebration past 10:00pm, consider hosting an after party at Will’s Fargo Restaurant and Bar, our sister restaurant; conveniently located down the street in Carmel Valley Village.

Vendors & Caterers

You have the flexibility to select your own licensed and insured vendors. If a chosen vendor is not on the preferred vendor list, please kindly obtain approval in writing first.

Event Insurance Required

Day-of liability insurance is required for every event. A list of providers and instructions is available for reference.

Wine & Spirits

The corkage fee is waived for each event with the purchase of a minimum order of Holman Ranch estate wine. All alcohol must be served by a licensed and insured bartending or catering company. Ask about Holman Ranch beverage packages and services for your special event.

A Cost-Effective Company Retreat A Sound Investment That Pays Huge Dividends

With the economy in a steady uptrend, companies once again realize that investing in the right kind of retreat is a proven business tool. Corporate group travel to resort locations continues to grow following the “AIG effect” — public outcry surrounding AIG’s 2008 lavish retreat taken just days after the insurance giant accepted $85 billion in federal bailouts.

Group business travel fell off dramatically during the recession and has been slower to rebound than individual business travel. Group retreat trips are now smaller, shorter and with much fuller agendas than before. But no one can dispute their effectiveness in bringing together “teammates” in the work environment.

The time away can help solve a specific company problem, explore new strategies, evaluate performance, or train in new areas. A corporate leader should also consider using a retreat for input, support, and creativity from their partners or employees.

A retreat’s self-contained nature reduces wasted time, and even cost-effective retreats without the fluff can be fun for employees. In the last couple years, corporate retreats have transformed into an important service for businesses by minimizing wastefulness while helping to generate long-term revenue.

Following are proven benefits for businesses:

  • Retreats facilitate real friendships among employees. In an office environment there are often few shared interests among employees, which can prevent them from ever forming bonds. Time spent at a corporate retreat is an opportunity for people to connect through participation in common activities. This allows employees to get to know one another and laugh together.
  • Retreats facilitates training. Any business success depends on having well-trained employees to get the job done effectively. The environment of a retreat develops team coordination, group problem-solving skills, and creativity. Skill-building training can also be used at a retreat as a way to focus in-office training throughout the rest of the year. While fun activities are essential to a great retreat, productive activities that apply to your business goals can help generate long-term revenue.
  • Retreats boost morale. Retreats are not simply a vacation for the whole corporation, they are a place for employees to renew their excitement and enthusiasm for work. They can be held in beautiful outdoor environments that reduce stress and give people an opportunity to refresh their thinking and come back to work with a new drive. A successful retreat will leave employees more excited and productive when returning to work.

Done correctly, retreats can be an effective way for an organization to bring about positive change. Done poorly, however, and companies can end up with a wasted weekend and the possibility of worsening the mood and functionality in the office environment.

An investment in a company retreat is an investment that could pay huge dividends in the near future. Isn’t that what business is all about?

Culinary Team-Building Events Create Engaging And Creative Experiences For Employees

Food is more than mere sustenance. It’s a become a lifestyle, a daily passion … dare we say an obsession for some. Just click through the television landscape and you realize how much food-related programming has exploded, with stand-and-stir cooking shows expanding into other permutations, from reality shows, to competitions, to (at last count) 11 shows about cake and cupcakes alone. And there are thousands of culinary apps to teach us how to make everything from applesauce to zabaione.

So it stands to reason that the hottest corporate team-building trend in America surrounds the culinary arts, including classes, challenges, tours and dining events that brings together employees to learn and work as a team. Gathering together around a meal is a universal custom that connects people from all backgrounds and cultures and dny activity centered on food is going to naturally be a socially engaging experience.

Following are some ideas for some engaging culinary team-building events:

‘Iron Chef’ Challenge

Modeled after the popular TV series, a cooking challenge requires a few culinary skills and a few secret ingredients to keep your group collaborating, communicating and cooking together.

Divide the group into teams and the “chairman” will brief the group on event instructions and guidelines. Teams receive all the supplies needed to ensure culinary success, including herbs, spices, condiments, pantry items and the secret ingredient of the day. The “kitchen stadium” includes cooking equipment. Teams must be able to communicate with one another, delegate tasks and practice their time management to ensure their meals are ready on time. Prepare a judging panel to score the creations.

Dining In The Dark

This idea takes a standard group meal to a whole new level. The concept of dining in the dark originated in Europe and since has traveled the world. It becomes a true exploration in dining as guests discover a whole new feast for their senses. Group members interact with each other and share what they are experiencing and how they feel. It’s an entertaining eating experience as the host engages participants about their theories on what they are tasting. The idea is that, with the dominant sense of sight on hold, the remaining senses heighten, allowing guests to experience smells, tastes and sounds like never before.

Winery Team Challenge

Start this team activity with an informative wine tasting and end it with an entertaining and competitive sangria making and marketing challenge. A local sommelier can lead the way, giving participants a brief, interactive and fun introduction to wine, before leading the group in a white and red wine tasting.

After the tasting, divide into teams and each group starts their own winery. Teams are briefed about the interesting history of sangria, and then take part in creating their own blends. Then teams develop a name, design a winery logo and label, and decorate their team aprons and tables for the final judging. They can also write and perform a jingle or commercial to sell their product to the judges.

Charitable challenge

Group members can cook with a cause during a team-bonding experience that is both fun and meaningful. This challenge includes food prepared and consumed by the participants during the event and a subsequent donation to area food banks.

To help your group better comprehend the issues of hunger and homelessness, the day can begin with a brief quiz on the subject. Participants will work in teams to answer questions that the facilitators will review and then discuss as a group.

Plan a cooking competition that includes appetizers consumed by participants, as well as preparation of hot food that will be donated to a local soup kitchen. Teams will compete to see who prepares the best dish in the eyes of culinary judges. Add a food-bag donation element to the day that involves participants taking a reusable tote bag, decorating it and stuffing it with food. Included in each bag is a personal letter to the family in need.


Romance And History Abound At Holman Ranch

Romance and history abound at Holman Ranch, a vintage Carmel Valley property adorned with ancient oaks, hillside vineyards, olive groves, a stone hacienda and spectacular views from every vantage point.

Renowned as a hugely popular and stunningly beautiful wedding venue, Holman Ranch draws couples from far-flung corners of the world. Once married in Holman Ranch’s rustic yet sophisticated setting, couples invariably recite a long list of accolades. And when asked to name the top reasons for getting married at Holman Ranch, these three lead the way:

  1. The view.  Couples can easily spend a small fortune on wedding-day decor, from fabric to flowers, but nothing can top what Mother Nature provides naturally. Rarely do outdoor weddings offer the beauty and splendor provided by Holman Ranch, nestled in the shadows of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Offering breathtaking vistas from every angle, the ranch provides the ultimate backdrop to any wedding ceremony. After exchanging vows al fresco among the rolling hills dotted with oak trees, couples can sip estate-grown wines in the vineyards and indulge in all the historic ranch has to offer.
  2. Exclusivity. On the most important day of their lives, a bride and groom simply do not want to share the spotlight with anyone else, which is why Holman Ranch only hosts one event at a time. All the focus and attention is put where it belongs — on the happy couple and their guests. There will be no wedding “crashers” from other events on property because Holman Ranch belongs to that couple and that couple only. This exclusivity (weekend dates can book up a year in advance) has led to a resurgence in weekday weddings, where couples can save on the budget and easily secure vendors normally booked on weekends.
  3. Flexibility. At Holman Ranch, couples are allowed to bring in all their own licensed and insured vendors. This is very important to those couples who desperately want to create a personalized, a la carte experience — from the flowers, to the food, to the well-stocked bar. And when it comes to wine, Holman charges no corkage with a minimum wine purchase. So Holman Ranch’s award-winning lineup of wines is available to help please a wide variety of palates. Holman Ranch has also developed a reputation as a safe haven for same-sex couples, and specializes in interfaith ceremonies, off-season weddings and ceremonies of any size and scope.

In the end, Holman Ranch becomes the venue choice of couples from all walks of life because it provides beauty, exclusivity and flexibility. But there are countless other reasons. Find yours by visiting

Corporate Retreats Gaining Favor Seven Years After Public Backlash

In 2008, after receiving government bailout money, AIG executives spent nearly a half million dollars on a corporate retreat. Hosted at the lavish St. Regis Resort and Spa in Monarch Beach in Southern California, the executives lived high on the hog during the weeklong party. Understandably, the public backlash was fierce and furious.

Because of that unethical malfeasance and other similar examples, the public thinks “extravagance” when they hear the term “corporate retreat,” and could explain why interest in corporate retreats fell nearly 90 percent from what it was in 2005.

Corporate Retreats

Slowly, corporate retreats are making a post-recession comeback because a smart investment in the right kind of retreat is a proven business tool.

Rather than spending often-limited company resources on in-office training by guest speakers, more and more companies are putting retreats on their business’ radar because they offer something better.

The self-contained nature of retreats prevents consistent time waste, and surveys show that employees look forward to the outings. Here are some reasons why businesses should budget for off-site retreats:

  • Personal reflection: A retreat provides the perfect platform for business owners and key decision makers to step back from their busy work life and take a more wine-angle perspective to their work or management style.
  • Morale building: Like spending vacation time, going on a corporate retreat allows your employees to renew their enthusiasm and excitement for work. It’s often desirable to choose a sunny climate, so employees can get that dose of Vitamin D and recharge their batteries. Getting in touch with nature also is beneficial, and can improve work performance back at the office.
  • Employee bonding: Companies may spend time trying to encourage employees to build relationships within the office, but this often results in some challenges. These attempts can feel inauthentic. And if an office has difficult employees, the efforts spent managing them can place an expensive strain on company time and resources. Spending time at a retreat, however, places employees in common activities they can talk about later. This allows them to genuinely get to know each other better and develop authentic friendships based on shared experiences.
  • Training: The retreat environment is a great place to develop creativity, teamwork, problem solving and other valuable skills that result in increased productivity. Use skill building training at retreats as a way to focus in-office training efforts throughout the year.
  • Recruitment: Inviting a prospective hire to a company retreat can quickly integrate her or him into the corporate culture, and highlight company strengths. People often show their true colors in a more relaxed environment. HR managers can take this time to evaluate potential hires, evaluate management relationships and behaviors among team members, and assess new employees acclimation in the office.
  • Reward: Studies have shown that happier workers are usually more productive. Taking time to reward employees for all of their hard work and letting them unwind a bit is a smart strategy. Corporate retreats allow management to show their gratitude and appreciation toward their employees, and reward them for professional growth.

To begin planning your corporate retreat, work out a budget, choose the perfect location and make a smart investment for your company.

Nestled in the tranquil Carmel Valley, Holman Ranch offers plenty of options for the perfect corporate event, retreat or team-building excursion, where you can schmooze in a black tie or rope “dummy” cattle in denims.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Planning Off-Site Corporate Events

Off-site meetings can be a great way for companies to brainstorm ideas, strengthen professional relationships, resolve communication issues, gain a renewed commitment to company goals and get everyone’s creative juices flowing again.

In a recent national survey of more than 600 business professionals, 63 percent say meetings outside of the office are more productive, and 67 percent say they would book meetings outside of their normal workspace to enhance their company’s image.


However, an off-site meeting that is not well-planned can be a disaster. All it takes is one botched trust-building exercise, a lineup of truly horrid banquet food or a venue that is too noisy or distracting to erode all the good feelings about getting away and getting down to work.

Here are some helpful tips for planning a successful off-site meeting:
• Anchor the meeting with goals that actually mean something to the business. Be sure to think about the off-site strategically, making it more than just an employee bonding exercise. With planning it can became an opportunity to generate new ideas and help employees grow in accordance with company guidelines.
• The physical surroundings of your off-site meeting can make an enormous difference. Hotels and conference centers are great locations, but they’re not the only options — and can create distractions. Look for comfort, convenience, peacefulness and efficiency. Don’t assume a “creative” location will automatically inspire your team to greater creativity. In short, pick a venue that allows your employees to focus on the meeting.
• When selecting your meeting site, be sure to take a tour of the facility beforehand, including the “back of the house.” Check for ample storage space for supplies, secure areas for employees to put their belongings and a sufficient number of clean restrooms. Of course, the venue must also provide ample meeting spaces and a place to gather for meals.
• Don’t forget the fun. Just because this is a business meeting, don’t neglect the recreational opportunities. Build time into the day’s schedule to allow employees to take advantage of these extras.
• Be sure to determine your budget ahead of time. Expenses to consider: transportation, facility rental, equipment rental, accommodations, catering, and possibly the cost of hiring a guest speaker or entertainer.
• Create a detailed schedule and determine the event needs beforehand. Be conscious of production needs, food orders, printing, and anything else that needs to be thought out before the meeting day.
• Build in travel time to and from the site, and set an agenda with that in mind. Also ensure that everyone has appropriate transportation to get to the meeting on time. Decide up front whether you want the day to be a high-intensity, nose-to-the-grindstone event, a laid-back and relaxing retreat, or a balanced program combining a bit of each.
• Circulate a pre-retreat agenda that lets employees know the objectives for the off-site meeting. This will provide everyone with an opportunity to prepare and ensure full and constructive participation. Consider giving pre-meeting homework that employees need to bring to the meeting.

With 400 acres, including a working vineyard, olive grove and oak-studded hills, Holman Ranch in sunny, tranquil Carmel Valley specializes in multi-day retreats and single-day off-site events that feature unique event spaces, engaging activities and more. This unique property offers an idyllic environment, elegant style, executive services and contemporary technologies to make any corporate retreat memorable.

Team-building possibilities include skeet shooting, roping, scavenger hunts and poker nights. Holman Ranch offers a fully appointed executive boardroom, wi-fi access, audio-visual equipment and many other amenities.

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