Viticulture

Get your game on with ‘Terroir’

The other day, as my kids were playing Minecraft and Fortnite, my third oldest asked, “Mom, why don’t you play video games with us?” I do just about everything else!!!! Honestly, I enjoy playing board games and sports games, but I’ve never gravitated towards video games. So, that got me thinking…if I could choose to play video games, which type would I choose? What if there was a viticulture/wine making video game? I would definitely enjoy that and finally, earn my cool ‘gamer’ stripes in our house!!

So, my search began and to my surprise, I discovered the game Terroir, which enables the player to manage a vineyard by growing his/her own grapes and then creating, marketing and selling his/her own wine. Wow…my dreams of owning a vineyard and making my own wine can finally come true…virtually speaking!!!

So, I set off to fulfill my vineyard dream and downloaded the game on my Mac, which, thankfully, was a very simple process. I’m not very patient when technology is involved! After waiting a few moments the game came to life! I was presented with the screen below, selected ‘New Game’, difficulty level and then named my vineyard ‘Vigneview’…obviously!

Choose your preferred difficulty level.
Choose your vineyard’s name.

My next steps were to choose which grapes to plant on my vineyard tile, which consists of an empty brown hexagon. The soil type and suitable grape varieties also is included to guide me in purchasing my vitis vinifera! A circular white planting icon appears when I can choose to plant. At this point I also have the choise to sell the land if I wish. However, I’m determined to pursue my dream, so I planted Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which were the most cost effective to grow and suitable for my vineyard plot.

My brown little vineyard plot of loam soil is ready and waiting!
My planting icon has appeared!
Now, I can choose my grapes!
Vine management instructions

Now, I’m ready to sing sweet nothings to my darling vines, hoping my positive vibes ensure that they produce the most incredible grapes which will in turn lead to a smashing bottle of wine! Fingers crossed…let’s get this harvest rolling!

To monitor the progress of the harvest, a column on the right-hand side displays the months, weather, grape ripeness and my financials. According to the game guidelines, the ripeness of the grapes should stay between 4 and 6, which is dependent upon how well you as the vineyard manager tend to the grapes. While monitoring the months, seasons, weather and ripeness, it is up to you to decide when to hedge the vines in order to expose the grapes to more or less sunlight in order to increase or decrease the ripeness levels. Hint: make sure you shear the grapes after rain, especially if it’s midsummer, or they won’t have ample time to ripen. Additionally, the game will tell you, once you’ve bottled the wine, if your grapes have suffered from disease or some other ailment that might have negatively impacted the quality of your wine. Finally, your funds are displayed at the bottom. Throughout the game, vineyard expenditures are withdrawn from your total, and deposits are also made, such as wines being sold.

Time to hedge the vines Get your clippers out!

Once you near September, get ready to harvest. An icon with a bunch of grapes appears. The decision is yours! You have until November to harvest, but make sure you keep an eye on the ripeness level, as it can quickly increase at this point.

Time to harvest! Mid October with a ripeness level of 4. Perfect timing!

Now, it’s time for big decisions. This is where some wine making expertise is essential. Possessing any prior knowledge of your chosen grape’s the desired wine characteristics (eg: acidity, sweetness, tannin and body levels) definitely helps. As you proceed, the game presents you with a variety of choices (dependent upon your funds!!) throughout the processes of crush, fermentation, pressing, barrel selection and ageing.

Crush options are limited (if lacking funds) but they do the job.
Pressing details choices concerning acidity levels.
The length of fermentation depends upon desired sweetness levels. This obviously was not a great vintage…ripeness level of 1…shocking!!!
Ageing choices depend upon desired and tannin levels which are impacted by the type of storage and length of time, both of which are your choice. I chose Common French Oak (other options are funds dependent!!).

Finally, when you have made all your winemaking choices, you are ready to bottle, market and hopefully sell your wine. A great component of this process is that wine experts can be chosen for an evaluated tasting. Your goal is to achieve the prized 5 stars!! Once you have proven yourself as a winemaker, you will be exposed to more prominent wine experts within the industry. This is definitely a waiting game!

You choose which experts to invite to your tasting. Some are more reputable than others!

5 star reviews are the best! Thank you!
Now that you have reviews, you are ready to market and sell your wine.
Various distributors are available, ready to sell your bottles.
It’s your choice who you go with.

Throughout the game, you are presented with real life situations. There is a chance or circumstance treasure box that opens only when you’ve achieve 5 star ratings on a bottle of wine. One of my ‘chance’ cards invited the mayor to my vineyard for a tasting; however, I could choose when to invite him (definitely wait for that 5 star bottle!!). Another option involves applying for loans, but they come with very high interest rates.

‘Chance’ or ‘Circumstance’ cards…your fate depends upon which one you choose!
Need a loan…look no further. Beware of exceptionally high interest rates!

As this is simply an overview of the game, there is so much more to explore. Overall, I think this is a great game for any wine enthusiast but be prepared to wait. The growing season takes a few minutes and you need to pay attention. You never know when the weather might change! Additionally, the cursor (little pointing hand) is quite fussy. This could definitely be improved.

I have to say that my kids caught me ‘gaming’ and were really impressed that ‘Mommy has finally found her own video game!!!”

Wow…definitely a Eureka moment in our house!

Cheers!!