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The 30th First Glass Wine Options and Tribute to Kingsley Wood

By July 1, 2012No Comments

The 30th and last of the ‘big format’ Wine Options competitions conducted by Kingsley Wood of First Glass was held on Sunday 1 July at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland. As could be expected, it was a grand affair and a nostalgic one, as 57 teams with over 200 people, many who have participated in the game over three decades got together to try to win the coveted National Wine Options title for the last time. It was a unique gathering of wine industry personalities and keen wine lovers that only occurs at the Wine Options event that Kingsley has run so expertly and precisely since 1983. The game has been the basis for innumerable people becoming more aware and interested in wine, and if for that reason only, then Kingsley Wood and the Wine Options game must be counted as significant influences in the New Zealand wine scene.

I got together with former team mates Kay Morganty, Sue Davies and Sam Kim in a team named “Wine Options Unplugged” for the final game, to recapture the agony and ecstasy in participating and to attend in honour to Kingsley who has been a factor in our enjoyment in all manner of wines, and our involvement and progress in the wine industry over the years of our careers. Even though we’ve played the game many times, this last game was just as nerve-wracking and enormous fun as ever. For the record, we ended up a creditable fifth, and were among the leading teams for much of the way. We felt we were competitive, and if Kingsley was to run further games, I’d imagine we’d want to keep on entering!
The Results and The Wines
Here are the major results of the 30th and final First Glass Wine Options, and the wines served. The full results, with placings, team names and scores (out of a maximum 196), along with photos taken by Sue Courtney, can be found on www.first-glass.co.nz or by clicking here.
1st, 163 points, ‘Kingsley’s Final Curtain’, with Shelley Lewis, Marge Scott, John Baird and Gabor Sareczky
2nd, 160 points, ‘Last Glass 6 o’clock Closing’, with Steve and Julie MacFarlane, Malcolm Meads and Niv Findlay
3rd, 155 points, ‘Corbans Collectibles, with Martin Carrington, Kathie Bartley, Martin Greig and John Trail
4th, 151 points, ‘Riesling to the Challenge
5th, 149 points, ‘Wine Options Unplugged
The Best Trade team was ‘Serial Grapists’ from Hancocks
The Best Costume team was ‘Alsace in Vinterland’
The Best Team Name was ‘Liver Let Die’
The Worst Team Name was ‘LARROM’
Winners of The Boot (for coming last) was ‘Se bourrer la gueule’
The Options Wines were:
Villa Maria ‘Single Vineyard Keltern’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2010
Church Road ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2009
Moss Wood Margaret River Chardonnay 2007
Domaine Weinbach ‘Cuvee Laurence’ Alsace Gewurztraminer Altenbourg 2007
Olssen’s ‘Slpajack Creek’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Te Mata ‘Coleraine’ Hawke’s Bay 2010
Sierra Cantabria ‘Coleccion Privada’ Rioja 2008
Penfolds ‘St Henri’ Shiraz 2008
The Bonus Wines were:
Mt Difficulty ‘Roaring Meg’ Central Otago Pinot Gris 2011
Felton Road Central Otago Dry Riesling 2011
Penny’s Hill ‘The Experiment’ McLaren Vale Grenache 2009
Passage Rock Waiheke Island Syrah 2010
Tribute and Thank You to Kingsley Wood
I was asked by Andrew at First Glass and friends to thank Kingsley for running the Wine Options game over the years, and providing so much enjoyment for so many people. Kay Morganty and I went on stage to do this. Here is my presentation, which indicates the level affection felt in the room:

“We are privileged to pay tribute to Kingsley and to thank him for 30 years of Wine Options. Kay and I were there at the start in 1983, in Dunedin, then Christchurch to Auckland. From Wilson Neil to Liquorland to First Glass.

Sue Davies, Simon Nunns, Katrina Sutherland and I followed Kingsley around the country one year to play Wine Options, from Auckland to Queenstown to Christchurch and Wellington. Sam Kim and I have competed, won, and not won. We’ve worked for Kingsley, helping him run the Wine Options. Yes, we we’ve been on ‘The Dark Side’!

There has been no other event like this in New Zealand. Kingsley has brought the wine community together, Wine growers, winemakers, wine judges, wine writers, wine sellers, and wine drinkers; from Auckland North to Southland, and even Hamilton. Kingsley has tested minds and tested palates. He’s given people something to aim for. He’s given people something to commiserate over. But most importantly, he’s been responsible for people learning about wine and becoming passionate about wine. Many of the people who have played Wine Options have made their career in the wine industry.

Kingsley has done this for 30 years, with passion, energy, drive and vision. He has loved doing this. He just likes putting people on the spot. He likes putting people on edge. Our team was on edge for most of this game.

You should know that Kingsley has actually played Wine Options as a participant. Around 10 years ago, in Melbourne in the Australasian Wine Options Final. He joined Kay, Sue and I, with support from Brian Morganty. He got some answers right. He got some answers wrong. But we knew he wasn’t comfortable in the role participating. For the record, we came Australasian Equal Runners-Up. And we didn’t carry him.

We see Kingsley Wood as the consummate Wine Options Convenor. He’s the best at it by far. We are all here, because we’ve recognised it for 30 years.

I ask you to stand and raise your glass to toast and thank Kingsley Wood for 30 years of Wine Options. Three cheers…”

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