Saturday afternoon the wharf was deserted. Walking towards Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, men in black stood at the entrance. Upstairs, the mezzanine with its wide plank floors, exposed rafters and oak barrels the perfect backdrop for a Game Of Rhones – 25 New Zealand, Australian and French producers and more than 70 wines awaited us.
Game of Rhones, a themed wine event already well ensconced in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane, the inaugural Auckland event was a celebration of the classic wine varieties of the Rhone Valley, France – think Shiraz or more commonly known as Syrah in New Zealand, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier and more.
Our challenge along with 350 other social wine drinkers on a wintry Saturday afternoon was to make our way around the barrel hall tasting one wine then the next; casting our vote for “the crowd favourite”. Our booklet provided ample space for notes – the serious tasters scrawling tasting notes, production methods and contact names. Others simply enjoyed amazing wines, talking to the wine producers and noting both the affordable and more aspirational (price-wise) favourites.
Costumes were optional. A few brave ones entered into the spirit while wine producers were whole-heartedly in character. People were whisked away by maidens for blind tastings. Other indulged in sumptuous food from Bird on a Wire. Everyone was in great spirits and without a doubt, there would definitely be a few sore heads Sunday morning.
So if wine is your passion then keep your eyes peeled for Bottle Shop Concepts – Pinot Palooza, coming to Auckland 2016. Love their tagline too, "we take the wank out of wine”.