According to the United States Bocce Federation, back in the time of the Punic Wars, Roman soldiers played bocce to unwind between confrontations with the Carthaginians. (Their version of the game largely involved throwing big rocks at a smaller rock.) Two thousand years later, the modern adaptation of this rock-throwing turns out to be just as therapeutic between confrontations with Cabernets.
In the last few years, winery owners, Baby Boomers and even Generation X families have caught up with the Romans. Every week, trucks of fibered base materials, subangular sands, epdm and oyster shells arrive at yet another tasting room, re-landscaped backyard, corporate playground and a myriad of other destinations throughout the United States for the sole purpose of creating the next newly constructed bocce court.
We consider this an excellent trend (preferable to the one that persuaded wineries to sell yoga pants) as it combines two of our favorite things: 1. a sport that everyone can enjoy, and 2. wine. Better yet for those of us who live and love the social gatherings, wonderful food without sweating too much.
As you fill that glass with a fine cabernet, remember a game played to 16 could conceivably last as long as the Punic wars but render you relaxed enough to face a whole hillside of Carthaginians!