How to plan a wine country Bocce party
As we swing into the tourist season in wine country and you plan your next wine country getaway with your friends, think about playing a game or two of Bocce at a winery. This is exactly what we have done once a year for the past ten years. There are several wineries that have one or more Bocce courts for visitors. We have played with our group at Larson Family Winery, Brutacao, and Francis Ford Coppola. Here is a complete list of wineries in California wine regions that have at least one Bocce court.
This past week, we gathered our group of friends for an enjoyable and highly competitive all-day Bocce tournament at the Francis Ford Coppola winery. They have four beautiful Bocce Courts and we used three for the tournament. We reserved the courts well in advance for a weekday and arranged for Coppola’s Rustic Restaurant to serve us a buffet lunch of sandwiches and salads on the lovely winery terrace.
We had seven couples play in the Bocce tournament. The great thing about Bocce is that, at this level, everyone has a chance to win. We do a complete round robin tournament, meaning each team plays all of the other teams at least once. We modify the rules a little to speed up the game. Here are some Bocce tips. Be sure to bring a tape measurer to settle any arguments about which ball is closer to the Pallino.
We plan other wine country activities around the tournament. The day before the Bocce games we meet at a winery for a tour, tasting and lunch. This time around we chose Truett-Hurst in the Dry Creek Valley. What a beautiful and peaceful spot to enjoy food and wine. Most of us stop at Big John’s Market in Healdsburg beforehand to order deli sandwiches or choose from the delicious items in their salad bar. More on the Truett Hurst Winery.
We booked rooms at the Geyserville Inn, which is very close to our Bocce venue at the Francis Ford Coppola winery. The inn has a beautiful outdoor area and we meet there for wine and appetizers before heading off to dinner. Have you eaten at the Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria in Geyserville? This Italian restaurant is a gem in the Sonoma wine country. The restaurant recently added a wonderful patio area and, when the weather is accommodating, it is a delightful place to dine. We arranged for a special menu and as you can see from the photo in slide show, Diavola treated us like VIP’s!
Costeaux French Bakery in Healdsburg is our “go-to” destination for breakfast on our final day. The bakery supplies a wide assortment of bread and pastries for many restaurants in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. They also serve a fabulous full breakfast. Most of us then spend a couple of hours or more in Healdsburg. We think it is the best town in any wine country region in California. There is something there for all.
So let’s get going here on your first Bocce game. Start small, perhaps with two or three couples. Choose a winery with Bocce courts and head out for a fun and exciting time in wine county.