How To Play

Object
The object of the game is to accumulate the most money through the process of producing and selling wine. Each player becomes a winemaker and goes through several phases in order to ultimately sell their wine. The process begins by accumulating cash, then buying land, harvesting the grapes, bottling the wine and ultimately selling the wine.

The Board
The board consists of a series of spaces that run from the Start position to the Finish Line with one alternative route. There are three different types of
spaces. The first type is “regular question spaces”. Players landing on these spaces may either collect money buy acres, harvest acres, bottle wine or sell wine if they correctly answer the question posed to them on that turn. The second type of space is a “Cork Space”. A player landing on one of these spaces must take a “Cork Card” from the top of the deck and enjoy or suffer the consequences indicated on the card. The third type of space is a “Free Space”. Players landing on a Free Space may choose which asset on the space (money, acres, grapes or bottles) to receive without having to answer a question. Free spaces are indicated by a goldish border around the space.

The Questions
The game comes with over 500 questions about wine divided into two categories: Sippers and Connoisseurs. Each question card contains two questions – one from each category. The questions in the Sippers category are easier than the Connoisseurs, so you can “handicap” play by having more experienced wine drinkers answer questions from the more difficult category. On about a fourth of the question cards are written the words “wine taste test” instead of a question. When this card is drawn the player whose turn it is must turn his or her head while the other players pour a taste of wine from one of three or four bottles opened, examined and tasted before the game began. The player must smell, examine and taste the wine and correctly identify from which bottle the wine came in order to receive the asset depicted on the space.

The Bank
In this game there are several asset types – money, acres, grapes and bottles. During the first section of the game players accumulate money. During, the second phase they use the money to buy land (acres). During the third phase players harvest their acres, which can be done multiple times (assuming they correctly answer the questions or land on a “Free Space”). During the next phase they bottle their wine based on the total grapes previously harvested. Bottling, although only done once per ton of grapes, can be done from different spaces. In other words, if you harvest 100 tons of grapes you can bottle 50 tons of them on one turn and the remaining 50 on subsequent turns. Likewise, bottles of wine do not all have to be sold at the same time and for the same price. All transactions, other than from some “Cork Cards” are done between the player and the bank and I lie appropriate assets, i.e. Karafe Kash, Deeds, Grape Chips or Bottle Cards are given to each player as earned or given back to the bank when the grapes are bottled or the wine is sold. It is a good idea to get out a calculator to help determine some of the values. All values, in all actions (with the bank or other players), are to be rounded up to the next denomination available to transact for that asset type.

Playing

  1. Open three or four bottles of red or white wine and have each player take a taste of each. For less experienced wine drinkers you may want to open fairly different wines such as a Merlot, Chianti and Pinot Noir in order that they can be more easily distinguished. More advanced players may want to open different bottles of the same type, i.e. three Cabernets from three different vineyards. Real beginners may want to open one white, one red and one blush. Just kidding!
  2. Shuffle the Cork Cards and place them face down next to the game board.
  3. Decide which players will answer questions from which category, i.e. sippers or connoisseurs.
  4. Each player then rolls the die to see who goes first. The player rolling the highest number goes first and play proceeds clockwise.
  5. The first player rolls his or her die and advances the number of spaces indicated on the die. If the player lands on a regular question space, the player to his or her right pulls a question card from the front of the question card box and asks the appropriate question (from the Sipper or Connoisseur series) to the current player. (If it is a wine taste test follow the previous instructions.) If the player correctly answers the question (or correctly identifies the wine during a wine taste test) he or she is entitled to perform the activity listed on the space. On most spaces players have the choice of two activities, i.e. acquire more cash or start buying acres. You must make a choice at this time and here is where the strategy comes in – once you have moved to the next phase you cannot go back. In other words, once you have started buying acres you cannot accumulate more cash or once you have begun harvesting you cannot buy more acres or once you have begun bottling you cannot harvest any more or once you have begun selling your wine you can no longer bottle wine. If the player answers the question incorrectly he or she receives no assets. Play continues clockwise in the same manner. The question card should be returned to the back of the card box.
  6. If a player lands on a Cork Space he or she must select the top Cork Card and follow the instructions thereon. In some cases the card is used at a later time. In that instance, the card is kept by the player until it is used. Some of the Cork cards give the player the right to pass a question after it is heard. If it is passed he or she must immediately answer the next question drawn during the same turn.
  7. If a player lands on a Free Space they may choose which asset to receive from those listed on the space without correctly answering a question.
  8. The first player who reaches the Finish Line receives a $50,000 bonus – the only reason for considering the shortcut, since going the long way offers more opportunities to acquire assets (and more potential wine taste tests!) is to receive the bonus.
  9. Any wine not sold by the time a player reaches the Finish Line is sold on the open market for $2 a bottle.
  10. The player with the most amount of money after all have reached the Finish Line is the winner.

Strategy Considerations:
Since you can harvest your acres multiple times, you may want to buy acres early on so you have more chances to harvest them. However, note that thelonger you wait to buy acres the less they cost and the more chance you will have had to acquire more money with which to buy them. The same type of considerations takes place when deciding to bottle wine. You may continue to harvest grapes, but the amount of bottles produced per ton of grape diminishes the longer you wait.

The longer you wait to sell your wine, the higher the price you will receive per bottle, but if you fail to answer the question correctly, you may end up selling it for $2 a bottle at the Finish Line. You may also land on a Cork space that impacts your sales price. Consequently, you may want to hedge your bets and sell some of it earlier at a lower price and leave some to be sold at a higher price in the hopes that you will land on a space that provides a higher selling price and you answer the question correctly.

Take a few minutes to review the board before playing to get a feel for when, where and how the phases begin and end and the relative values of each activity. It would be a good idea to plan out your strategy ahead of time, since after several wine taste tests you may forget your original game plan. The first time you play the game you may not realize how important these strategies are, but by the second or third time it will become very clear.

Advanced Variation
Once you get more familiar and better with the game, for a more challenging game you can consider “Free Spaces” just regular question spaces and require the player landing on the space to correctly answer a question (or correctly identify the wine taste test).

And Finally
Remember not to drink and drive. Please enjoy the game, but do not drive if you have had too many wine taste tests.

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