POSTED ON May 24, 2009 | IN Mendocino Wine Country, Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

Our 5th Annual WCG Bocce Tournament is over. As usual, it was a tremendous success judged by the amount of fun we had. Yes, there was a winning team. Hmmm, who would that be? Oh yes, the “Crushers.”Second place went to “Two-Buck Chuckers,”and third place to the “Terrible Tannins.” As one of the players on the “Library Reserves” emphatically put it, “there are no losers here.”

Hopland Inn, Hopland CA

Hopland Inn, Hopland CA

We love playing on the Brutocao Winery Bocce courts. I doubt there is a better venue in the winery world for playing Bocce. We need at least three courts to get the tournament completed in a leisurely fashion. At Brutocao, there are six well-groomed courts complete with scorecards. The winery’s restaurant, the Crushed Grape, has tables and umbrellas on the courts and enough water to keep us relaxed throughout the day.

While having our continental breakfast at the Hopland Inn the day after the tournament, we agreed to make a few changes for next year. First and foremost, forget dinner at the Crushed Grape. The restaurant is good for lunch with plenty of menu choices. Dinner is another story. This is the tiny town of Hopland and during the week the restaurant is usually nearly vacant. The restaurant is not quite as efficient cooking up gourmet fare for a party of sixteen. A much better idea is to have an appetizer dinner the night of the Bocce games. We were totally relaxed out on the Hopland Inn garden deck enjoying cocktails, wine, and hors’dourves. The last thing we wanted to do was get up and walk over to the Crushed Grape for a 7:30 dinner reservation.

We also decided to junk the double elimination tournament in favor of a modified round robin with some sort of playoff. This way, everybody plays more games throughout the day. In a double elimination tournament, it is tough on the teams that lose their first two games early and never get a chance to play again the rest of the day.

We expect that the Hopland Inn will be up and running next year with their beautiful bar and restaurant in full operation. The new owners are the Pinoleville Native Americans, and I’m confident they are going to make a go of this historic inn that has had several owners in the last six years.

Dinner at the Crushed Grape Restaurant

Dinner at the Crushed Grape Restaurant


  1. Ray Conti says

    I agree with Mike: great friends, great sport, great wine. Now…. if I could only get that joke straight.

  2. mike beltran says

    If we could get our hands on a BBQ, we could make a (hot) dinner which is something we did not have.. Cooking is fun and with our group I am sure we would come up with a great dinner. Bocce gets better each year, but we need to weed out the “ringers” 🙂 Great people, great wine, great sport and a great organizer. Mike Beltran