Fruit of the vine: board games for wine lovers

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.

—Ernest Hemingway

It’s tough to top a night of board games and wine. Have friends over, crack open a bottle or two (or more), and spend a few hours gaming. What more could you ask for? Next time you plan a wine-and-board-game night, make sure to include of these wine-themed board games to complete the experience.

Viticulture: Essential Edition

viticulture-box

You had to know Viticulture would be at the top of the list. Stonemaier’s very popular worker placement game sees you as the owner of a vineyard, assigning workers and visitors to different areas to help you grow your wine empire. Planting vines, harvesting grapes, aging wines, and filling merchant orders are all necessary on the road to viticultural victory.

Vinhos

vinhos-box

As a part of Portugal’s wine culture, you’ll cultivate your crops, choose varieties, take part in trade fairs, and do whatever you need to do to become the biggest, best winemaker in the country. You’ll need to sell your wines to local markets, establish an international reputation, and make strategic decisions to ensure your success at local fairs. In short, to win Vinhos, you’ll need to become the consummate vintner.

(Note: this game is currently $150 on Amazon, but if you can snag a used copy or check the Geek Market, you should be able to save a lot of cash on it.)

Grand Cru

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If you want to delve into the economic side of being a winemaker, Grand Cru is the way to go. Starting up a winery is expensive, and you’ll need to take out a lot of loans to secure a good location and resources . . . but you’ll also need to try to become a profitable business as fast as possible. If you make the right investments, you’ll become the most profitable winery and take home a win.

(Note: this game is also quite expensive on Amazon, so check your options if you want to try to save a bit.)

Beer is made by men, wine by God.

—Martin Luther

Vino! The Exciting Game of Wine

vino-box

Strategic or economic games not your style? Vino! might be a better option; its simpler race mechanics and fun trivia questions are great for a group of wine enthusiasts; if you get to the Chateau first by answering questions, proposing toasts, and using your Disagree card on other players, you’ll take home the win. With 1200 questions that are all multiple-choice or true/false, everyone has a chance at doing well in this game.

Vintage

vintage-box

As a “family strategy” game, Vintage is a good bet for hobbyists and non-game-enthusiasts alike. You’ll plant vines, harvest grapes, make wine, transport it, age and sell it, all in the hopes of becoming the most successful vintner around. While the game itself isn’t reputed to be a strategic marvel, the board and pieces are of very high quality, and the inclusion of Simple and Normal rules makes this a great game for a wine-loving family.

Your favorite wine games

These five games are great for getting in the viticultural spirit, but there are surely more out there. Leave a comment with your favorite wine game, whether on this list or not!

Image credit: MTGirl.

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