Stag Dining Oakland Olympiad August 2016 picnic basketWith the right host, an invitation to an afternoon of lawn bowling can make for a fun wine & dine adventure with old and new friends, great food and some really good wine. Such was the case when I attended the Oakland Olympiad event hosted by Stag Dining last week in Oakland’s Lakeside Park on Lake Merritt.

Stag Dining is one of the Bay Area’s premier catering and event planning companies. Hire them for your event or join their mailing list and receive notices of their self-hosted Dinner Series and special events. Attend with a group of friends or go prepared to mingle. I give them 10’s across the board (organization, service, quality).

The Oakland Olympiad event was an homage to our athletes sweating it out in Rio as we strolled leisurely along the hand-manicured green in Oakland, drinks in hand. The event began with an announcement that the open bar was now serving and bowling would begin shortly.  A jazz trio entertained as guests arrived and were offered an assortment of wine (more in a minute), beer and mixed drinks.

Most guests appeared not to know a lot about lawn bowling (also called bowls), but it didn’t matter. Members of the Oakland Lawn Bowling Club were on hand to provide each group of competitors with brief lessons on the game’s history, bowling technique, general rules and strategy. During the course of play, Stag Dining stepped up the event with some excellent nibbles. Servers circulated with platters of remarkable deviled eggs, miniature cheese burgers and chicken tacos. Mint Juleps over crushed ice soon followed and the open bar remained open throughout the event. See photos below.

One of the wines served was 2014 Bodkin Wines The Victor’s Spoils Sauvignon Blanc. This was a perfect wine to sip while lawn bowling – it serves well when chilled on the cold side on a hot day and the alcohol is light at 12.8%. Winemaker’s notes claim hints of lemon-lime and grapefruit, but those elements aren’t as overpowering as found in many Sauvignon Blanc’s in this price range ($17).  All flavors are nicely balanced and the end result is a very smooth, sippable wine perfect for any warm day. I’m looking forward to trying more Bodkin wines. They claim to make the first sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, plus other varietals that include Chardonnay, Zinfandel and a Dry Muscat Canelli (see them all). Buy Bodkin Wines online or at Whole Foods and other locations (see the list).

2014 Bodkin The Victors Spoils Sauvignon Blanc

Bodkin Wines (Healdsburg, CA) takes it’s name from the bodkin-tipped arrows used by the English to defeat the French at Agincourt in 1415. A bodkin (see slide show below) looks much like a dagger and uses its shape and weight to pierce body armor. Read the story on Bodkin’s web site.

Have you heard the term bodkin before? Unless you’re into medieval armaments or sewing, probably not. Have a look at the slides below and you’ll see examples of the three most common types of bodkins. The first is the bodkin arrow tip mentioned above This type has a square-ish design for added weight. Many bodkin arrow tips are flatter, like knife blades. The second is basically a large threader, the third is the thing that you’ve probably needed a dozen times in your life but never knew what it was called. Kinda like an aglet… (the plastic tip on the end of a shoelace).

While we’re on the subject… ever need a bodkin for retrieving a drawstring or picking up something that fell into a narrow crevice? Below are two items sold on Amazon that many times I wish I’d had around the house (purchase them here if you have an Amazon account or want to open one).

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