For those of us who enjoy a little fun and folly, here are several intriguing games all centered around the topic of wine.
Wine Wars: Wine Wars covers the gamut, with categories including, “Vine to Vino” (viticulture and vinification), the “Wine Cellar” (buying, storing and tasting), and Cork Culture (wineries, business and art). Questions like “Which famous French wine is typically made from a blend of Sémillion, Sauvignon and Muscadelle grapes?” are an example of the level of difficulty.
Who’s it For? Wine trivia games have questions of a moderate to high degree of difficulty, but should be doable if you’re keeping up with your Wine Folly blogs. They often level the playing field by including a luck/strategy component or team play if you just happen to be gaming with a Master Sommelier in your midst.
It seems like every classic game has a wine-themed version. The only one we couldn’t find was wine Twister. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing.
Wine-O Of course someone has created a Bingo for oenophiles, and it’s aptly named. Wine-O features grape varietals in place of numbers and wine corks to mark your wooden scorecard. As an alternative, Wine-Opoloy plays on the most classic of all board games, Monopoly, swapping properties and railroads for grapes and wine regions.
Who’s it For? You and your friends. And if you’re playing wine Bingo, don’t forget your grandma too.
A Taste for Wine and Murder A wine-based murder mystery game where the premise is described as “A body was discovered at a California vineyard, and you must solve the murder before the killer strikes again.” Tantalizing. Calling itself “a dinner party in a box,” the kit includes character booklets and crime scene clues, along with party invitations and a party planning booklet with things like menu and costume suggestions.
Who’s it For? For those of us who like to go all-out for dinner parties. On the other hand, if you want to solve a wine-themed murder without the dinner party fuss, grab Cabernet and Foul Play instead. In this game, “a mystery is fermenting” when a rival winemaker goes missing. The only hope to find him resides with clues found in the accompanying 1000-piece puzzle.
Puzzles might just be one of the best wine-sipping activities ever. We found so many puzzles of wine-related scenes that we may never have to look at a pile of corks ever again!
3D Wine Puzzles If working in two dimensions (relatively speaking) bores you, grab a 3D version. You can find wooden puzzles in the shape of a wine bottle or glass that double as decorative pieces once you’ve completed the challenge.
Who’s it For? You’re either a puzzle person, or you’re not. With a wide range of difficulty levels, it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. As a bonus, if you happen to spill your glass all over the table, with the right 2D scene, it might just blend in.
These contraptions wrap securely around a real bottle of wine (that you supply), preventing its access unless you break a code. They usually require creativity, thought, patience and finesse to remove.
Vino Vault Wine Cryptex and Don’t Break The Bottle Wine Caddy Vino Vault Wine Cryptex involves letter combinations that you set, not unlike a suitcase lock. If you’re ready to get a bit wilder, wrap your bottle in a more complex metal (or wooden) multi-step, mind bending apparatus, like Don’t Break the Bottle, instead.
Who’s it For? If you like delayed gratification, want to up the stakes on your quest for puzzle domination, or simply make your friends work a little harder for their hostess gift, you’ll love bottle vaults. Personally, the phrase “don’t break the bottle” is just the kind of foreshadowing that I like to avoid.
Strategy Board Games
If you are good at strategy-based games, you’re already smarter than us. These games take you right into vineyards and wineries, tasking you to buy grapes, invest in regions, pray for good weather, price distributions, trade wines and even pay off loans. We found an awesome forum fueled by obsessed gamers that’s worth perusing for advice on strategy-based wine games.
Grand Cru Grand Cru challenges you to manage the economic process of making wine. You must first buy the right grapes for the best wines for your own vineyard. Next you are tasked with navigating all aspects from harvest to vinification to the selling of the final product to pay off your business loans, all the while competing with your opponents who must do the same. The player who is left with the most money after their wine is sold and loans paid off is the winner.
Who’s it For? The hardcore gamer, or “strategery” lover. If you played Risk day and night as a kid, and are ready to swap wine for your go-to childhood beverage, you’ll love Grand Cru and other such strategy games.
Blind Tasting Party Games
A bounty of blind tasting games exist. Unfortunately most are filled with extraneous items like invites, bottle cover bags and cheesy CD music. The most interesting game we found in our research also happened to be the least serious.
Read Between the Wines! Read Between the Wines! is not necessarily blind tasting, but will help you connect your senses of smell and taste to descriptive vocabulary, albeit in comical ways. The idea is to creatively describe the various wines you’re sampling according to one of 54 themes such as, “Compare This Wine to a Celebrity [or friend],” To which you might respond, “This rose is pink, fruity, high in alcohol, pleasantly dry and faintly bitter, like Madeline after a day of too much fun in the sun.”
Who’s it For? Anyone who wants to challenge their senses and explore new varietals or regions would benefit from (blind) tasting games. For a do it yourself version, grab some brown lunch bags and a Wine Folly tasting mat kit, complete with guided tasting placemats and a handy wine aroma wheel.