No, it’s not a typo! Start thinking about next year’s wine options game – the annual First Glass Wine Options event run by Kingsley Wood. Next June will see the 30th consecutive competition run by New Zealand’s ‘Mr Wine Options’ and it is sure to be a special one.
The wine options game has been responsible for the passion and expertise that many of this country’s wine lovers and a large number of wine industry’s personnel possess. I am one of those people, becoming addicted to learning about and tasting as many wines that I could, so that when it came time for playing wine options, I could perform with credit and credibility. When Kingsley Wood of the innovative Wilson Neill wine merchant business began running the game in the early 1980s, our group of Dunedin wine lovers entered into the ‘spirit’ of things, supporting the Dunedin head-quartered company, to take on the wine professionals of Auckland and the rest of the North Island. We were successful, with one of the teams, the ‘Dunedin Winelovers No.2′ consisting of Kay Morganty, Dave Pilgrim, Mike Frawley and Norman Chan taking the national champion title. The Dunedin teams from then on performed extremely well, surprising many highly respected winemakers and judges, leaving them in their wake over the ensuing decade.
Following a time away from the game, I re-entered the wine options arena in 2000, and the group I joined enjoyed considerable success, earning national and Australasian titles on several occasions. One of the most noticeable differences was the incredible expertise by a great deal of people from all walks of life, and from all over the country. Kingsley’s efforts had an amazing effect of lifting the standards of wine appreciation and identification for many people. The competition was much greater!
2012 will mark 30 years of wine options run by Kingsley Wood. To sustain such interest in the game for so long is a reflection of Kingsley’s smooth and efficient running of the game and significantly, his infectious enthusiasm for fun and special interaction with the participants. It is fair to say that the game has contributed to his stature and respect in the wine industry in New Zealand.
For a full run-down of the game with comprehensive results and photos, visit www.first-glass.co.nz/options11.htm