While opening a few bottles of wine is often sufficient for a spirited gathering, games inspired by the grape encourage friendly competition and lively conversation, not to mention bragging rights. Grab one of these fun activities for your next wine get-together:
Tamara Leigh Murphy’s creative board game combines wine evaluation with trivia and blind tasting.
How to play: Taste and critique three similar bottles of red or white. Then, answer any of 300 question and answer cards and twelve bonus/challenge cards, and successfully complete one or four blind tastings, to advance on the board. The first player to make it to the Winner’s Circle wins the title of Winerd!
Good for: Up to four oenophiles who equally enjoy tasting and trivia.
Sample question: Which bar staple is actually a wine? A) Vermouth B) Vodka C) Amaretto
Where to get it: www.winerdgame.com, $36.99
Bouquet—The Wine Game
Navigate the board and travel the world of fine wine using one of three skill levels: amateur, professional or connoisseur.
How to play: Select a color-coded playing piece representing a continent. Correctly answer one card from each category, and complete tasks from the Chance Cards, before crossing the finish line.
Good for: Up to six players with varying degrees of wine knowledge.
Sample question: “Where is Château Giscours produced?” Amateur level answer—France; Professional level answer—Bordeaux; Connoisseur level answer—Margaux.
Where to get it: www.wineentertainment.com, $44.95
Gather a bunch of friends and test your vino knowledge in this low-key card game.
How to play: Select and correctly answer questions from a deck of cards containing 100 true or false and multiple-choice questions. Use the score pad to determine who’s the “wine smartest.”
Good for: Both small and larger groups who prefer casual trivia to the structure of a board game.
Sample question: “Can white wine be made from red grapes?”
Where to get it: www.smartsco.com, $16.95
Murder Mystery Party: A Taste for Wine and Murder
Wine and mystery-loving guests help solve the murder of local vineyard owner Barry Underwood.
How to play: Invite six to eight friends to dress up and play the roles of the devious suspects. Use the provided recipes and shopping list to plan the food, and then nosh and nibble while sizing up the guilt of your fellow partygoers. The included CD provides an introduction, summary of events and solution to the crime, and character booklets help the budding thespians.
Good for: Six to eight willing participants who are both Clue and Cabernet fanatics.
Sample question: Was it Tiny Bubbles who committed the crime? Or perhaps Marilyn Merlot?
Where to get it: www.amazon.com, $24.99.
Brown Bag Blind Tasting
Put your senses of taste and smell up against those of your friends in this game that’s low prep but highly entertaining.
How to play: Ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine wrapped in a paper bag. Distribute sheets of paper on which guests draw a table as shown below. Repeat the row headers for as many bottles of wine present. The guest who brought the wine pours a sample for each of the other guests, who have three chances to determine the grape, region and year. After each guess, the person who brought the wine tells the others what he answered correctly, and what’s wrong. If no one guesses correctly after the third chance, the right details are revealed.
Good for: Wine or dinner clubs looking to sprinkle their gatherings with some liquid analyses in between courses.
|Wine A (1st Guess)|
|Wine B (1st Guess)|
Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.trywine.net.