Book Review: Wine Playing Cards

May 28, 2010

On the last day of the 2010 WineMaker Magazine Conference in Stevenson, WA, there was an hour between the last session and the dinner and awards ceremony. Being in the Skamania Lodge, I wandered around a little bit until I found the gift shop. There, I discovered that they were selling a red wine deck of cards and a white wine deck of cards for $8.95 each. While I found that to be a bit expensive, I figured I could use them to play solitaire with, or stop and read them and learn more about the grapes that go into wines. I also figured it could be a conversation piece sometime.

These cards were printed by Inkstone Design, Inc in 2003. The more popular varieties of wine grapes take the ace or king cards, and I was amazed that there are 52 red and 52 white grape varieties, as you only hear of a handful of breeds. Each card talks about the grape’s origins, characteristics, and gives a suggested food to pair it with.

I did find one error in them, which is amazing given my limited knowledge of grape wines. The red wine ace of hearts is the Cabernet Sauvignon, which puts its origins as, “A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes…” The white wine king of diamonds is the Sauvignon Blanc, which says, “In 1997 it was discovered to be a natural mutation of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.” This confuses me, as it sounds like “Which came first – the chicken or the egg?”

There are probably better books out there on the topic of wine grapes and the different varieties, but those would be books that I wouldn’t really be interested in. These playing cards are small, fit into your pocket, and versatile, as I could actually play games with them rather than just read them. I could also see someone using them like flashcards. Overall, I find them useful and educational.

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