A Little Cheer for a Dreary Day

Fall finally arrived with a vengeance. One day, it’s pleasant if slightly humid, with humans parading around in shorts and flip flops. Then a night of rain arrives from the north, carried along by gusting winds that taste of frost and pine with a hint of woodsmoke. By morning, the butterflies have (mostly) vanished and the barking frogs have gone quiet.

Colder weather is not itself a deterrent to outdoor activities. We’ll happily tolerate most temperatures above freezing, especially Fuzzums, whose long coat is the perfect foil to those cool Canadian breezes. Rain, however, is still miserable, and something to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, the weather gods don’t always cooperate with our plans, and so this past weekend saw us trapped indoors with our humans, wishing for either an end to the rain or for the humans to at least take their fraternizing to another locale.

Alas, the old college chum here for a wee visit wasn’t moving from the couch and so we were presented with the prospect of yet more human foibles to ruin our day. We were as glum as the gray skies outside and had taken to a safe position under the bed and the back of the pantry when we heard that favorite sound of a bottle being opened. Now, this is a sound that’s hard to resist, and so, one by one, we crept out to investigate. Even humans can be tolerable with enough wine, after all.

It turns out the humans, while digging around for warmer clothes, had found a favorite board game buried in the back of the closet. Purchased sometime before even Grumpy Old Man’s arrival, it sat unused for…well, let’s just say several years. The game had been retrieved and now the humans had settled in to play, glasses and bottle close to hand.

The game turned out to be one that even we enjoyed, devoted as it was to the topic of wine. Vino! The Exciting Game of Wine is truly a game for wine lovers. The goal is to make your way to the Chateau before the rest of the players. There are trivia questions along the way, covering everything from proper storage of fortified wine to the widows of Champagne and quotes from a lot of famous people (including a few we’ll admit we didn’t know). There’s a dungeon (bad) and a wine cellar (good) and even an opportunity to make toasts on topics ranging from beaches to your first kiss.

As a way to spend a couple of hours, it was thoroughly enjoyable. The only downside, the game’s an older one and not always easy to find. If you still want a fun wine-themed board game without having to peruse the depths of eBay, then we would also recommend Grand Cru. This game is more of a strategy game than a straightforward board game. The goal is to establish your own successful winery, starting from the selection of grapes to plant, then moving on to harvesting and wine-making, all while handling the business side of the industry and paying off
your loans. The person who has the most money left after selling their wine and paying off all their loans and expenses is the winner. Just a warning here, this can become a very serious affair if you’re playing with diehard wine geeks. Know your opponents before you start or you may find yourself wishing this game would disappear to the back of the closet.


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