Visitors to the Napa Valley who like to include in their itinerary a stop at Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts are apt to be rattled by news that the complex is struggling financially and has started to reinvent itself. The center still is open, but it's laying off a third of its staff, selling some of its land, and converting exhibit galleries into conference rooms, a grim turnaround for anyone who has enjoyed the intelligence and imagination of the center's culinary art shows and programs.
The center's new direction will focus on wine and food education, with classes in both expected to be featured more prominently. Granted, visitors to the valley are there primarily to savor the region's wine and food, but whether enough of them will be eager to explore the subjects in "conference rooms" rather than tasting rooms and restaurants will be the center's next big challenge. A comprehensive report on Copia's woes can be found in today's Napa Valley Register.