POSTED ON February 12, 2013 | IN Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

image of Bocce at a winery

Winery Bocce

Several years ago I unofficially declared May as “Winery Bocce Month.” So with May just a few months away, it is now the time for you to start planning your own Bocce tournament at a winery. You and your wine friends will have an absolutely wonderful time in wine country, centered around a friendly Bocce competition. In May we will host our Ninth Annual WCG Bocce Tournament. We have 8 couples who play. We make it a two-night affair in wine country. We have so much fun that throughout the year we recall many happy moments from our Bocce games.

How to Organize a Winery Bocce Tournament

Select friends who like drinking wine, like to party, and are competitive. Bocce takes just five minutes of practice to learn how to play. At our level of play, most of it is luck anyhow.

Find a Bocce court to play on and start small
We started out playing at the Larson Family Winery in Carneros. There were just 4 teams the first year. We only needed one Bocce court to complete a double elimination tournament. We stayed over that night in the Napa Valley and had dinner together at Don Giovanni’s. Over the next few years our Bocce Tournament grew to eight couples, a round robin schedule, and the need for four Bocce Courts. We stay two nights and plan social activities around the Bocce tournament. Here is a complete listing of wineries in California that have one or more Bocce Courts. Find one to your liking and call to discuss your plans with the winery.

bocce court at Armida

Single court at Armida Winery

Bocce and Food
The first year we purchased wine from Larson Family Winery and each of us packed a lunch and something to share. Today, we play at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and have the lunch catered by the Rustic Café at Coppola. The night before the tournament we dine at Diavola’s in Geyserville. They sit us at a huge table in the dining room, and we drink a a fair share of wine while boasting about our Bocce skills and predicting who will win the tournament. The next evening we rent the Packard Room at the Geyserville Inn and everyone brings an appetizer to share. At this event we award the prizes and present the perpetual trophy to the winning team.

The Tournament
We all have team names that are wine related terms. Example: The Brumello Bombers, Muscat Ramblers, and the Library Reserves. Retired librarian Kris thought up this clever name. A simple way to start is to have a single or double elimination tournament. There are plenty of places on the Internet to find templates and brackets for this. Here is one Website that has forms to use.


Winery Bocce

Our Bocce Trophy

We put in $20 a couple and give a cash prize for first, second, and third places. We also have a perpetual trophy that is an empty Imperial wine bottle (holds 8 regular wine bottles). Bocce player Jim uses a label maker to post the winners names on the bottle. The trophy is to be prominently displayed in the home of the winning team. Since I am the chief organizer, it is my duty to make a surprise inspection to see if the winning couple is upholding this tradition.

Planning is Key
Have someone take the lead on reserving courts, choosing dinner locations and reserving lodging. Call far ahead to reserve all of these. Another person can be in charge of running the tournament. That means selecting the type of tournament (single or double elimination, round robin), bringing equipment, measuring tapes, etc. See Bocce Tips. It is also a good idea to print out a simple set of rules to settle a dispute.

If you do decide organize and conduct Winery Bocce, let us know and we will mention it in our blog.