Reading and learning about wine — in lieu of simply consuming it — can be a drag. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to pick up some wine know-how without taking out all the fun. And many of these games and classes make for great holiday gifts.
Here's a look at some of our favorites that we've come across or covered in the past year. Give one to the person in your life seeking a little more wine knowledge.
Wine Tasting Uncorked: Guided Tasting Courses and Tips
This $10 box of cards is neatly organized and creatively presented to best provide tips, pairing advice and basic step-by-step wine-tasting lessons. Created by Michael Schuster, this is a condensed, more fun version of his book Essential Winetasting: The Complete Practical Winetasting Course.
Bouquet: The Wine Game
This game is definitely tougher than a round of Chutes and Ladders, and it spans so much more than grape varieties and wine regions. You'll learn about auctions and even the global wine market, or maybe have to identify a wine just by the shape of the bottle.
Trade Boardwalk and Park Place for Bordeaux and Beaujolais. It's the same game you know, just with a focus on wine--and you might learn a thing or two about it in the process. As with the regular game, be sure to have plenty of players and an open bottle of wine or two.
Wine Tasting Kit
If you know someone who'll be completely bored with games or classes (and believes that experience is the best way to learn), give him or her this set of numbered blind-tasting bags and score sheets. Tasting wine leads to understanding it, especially if you can jot down your thoughts on smells and flavors without being biased by the labels.