I made the most of a precious work-free weekend and had a BLAST at Game of Rhones.
Being it’s second year here in Auckland, Game of Rhones is gathering momentum. Game of Rhones is different to other wine festivals and your $60 ticket gets you a quality PLUMM REDa wine glass (value $30) and all your tastings. That’s right, no tokens are required for wine tastings. It’s all included in your ticket price. Taste to your hearts content.
Visitors are encouraged to dress up GoT style and I this year my fur and leather combo channeled GoT Nights Watch, Wildlings and the Iron Islands. Sitting on the bus in costume, no one even looked twice, which made me feel at ease. While I was quite warm, I felt more comfortable in this costume than the gown and cape I wore last year (not really my style). There were more attendees in costume this year and I feel that it will only get better with each year. Kiwis are naturally a little shy when it comes to this sorta stuff but my dears, dress up while drinking wine is FUN.
Bird on a Wire was responsible for the food again this year and between the two of us, we had 4 of their 6 offerings, everything we had was delicious but I particularly enjoyed their pulled pork. Their GoT inspired menu was fun with options for different diets.
This year, I was selected to be blind-folded and experience the torture chamber. While I’ve sworn an oath not to share what happened to me inside, I think I can say that it was rather unpleasant but there was wine.
One of my highlights included meeting Insta-famous avian, King Khaleesi and his friend, the Mother of Dragons. King Khaleesi is very smartly dressed cockatiel, the unofficial mascot of Game of Rhones.
Our Royal Passes included early entry, any meal of our choice and an exclusive wine tasting at the Rhone Bar. We learnt a wealth of information from our passionate pourer, though there are plenty of tastings to satisfy even if you don’t get to the Rhone Bar. If you’re probably going to purchase a meal at the event and don’t like crowds, I highly recommend the Royal Pass, the extra $25 is good value.
We enjoyed countless wines from different regions and though I mostly stuck to my favourite varieties, i did branch out and let the exhibitors suggest wines for me to taste. And at unlimited tastings, why wouldn’t you take a chance on something new? One grape variety I noticed and enjoyed at the event (but we don’t really have here in NZ due to our climate) is the delicious Grenache. I usually lean towards Syrah, and Grenache has similar characteristics and is often blended with Syrah and others. I’m going to look out Grenache in my day to day drinking.
Each stand was clearly marked and I loved how easy it was to explore and get around. There were no bottle-necks like there can be at other events.
The festival goers and the exhibitors were such a friendly bunch, it was fun chatting to others about wine, food, and GoT. The festival was very well run and I love the venue at Shed10. No complaints. There wasn’t a bag given on entry this year which was awesome because that’s just one more thing to carry around all day (on top of camera, wine glass and your own bag). But at the end of the day, they did give out a bag to carry your wine glass home in. Perfect.
Game of Rhones Wellington is happening for the first time, so if you’re in the capital this Saturday, check it out!
Bottle Shop Concepts are bringing Pinot Palooza in September this year so keep an eye out for their next wine festival. For more information and to keep up to date with their announcements, check them out here.
Tips for Game of Rhones:
- Dress up! Do it! The more the merrier
- Be courageous and try a wine you’ve never tried before
- Take photos or notes if you want to remember your favourite wines
- Sign up to newsletters for wine specials
- Schedule in a meal (or two)