This Video Game Teaches You to Be a 'Winemaking Tycoon'

The game even simulates the unpredictable weather patterns of France’s Bordeaux region.
October 30, 2017, 2:00pm
Photo via Flickr user MissMessie

Other than writing, there are only two or three other jobs that I think I might be qualified to do, and that's assuming that an adult might be hired to towel sweat droplets off an NBA court. I am largely ill-suited for anything that requires highly specialized knowledge, advance planning, or making good financial decisions. What I mean by all of this is that General Interactive Co.'s Terroir is the closest I'll ever get to owning a vineyard.


The recently released tycoon-style simulation game allows players to pretend that they've accumulated enough extra cash to open their own vineyard, and the game takes them through each step of becoming a winemaker, from selecting and harvesting each grape variety ("from the hardy Cabernet Sauvignon to the fragile Pinot Noir") to bottling and selling the final product. Terroir has four winemaking processes—crushing, fermentation, processing and aging—and according to its developers, "you'll have to learn and master each one."

"I quickly realized there wasn't a winemaking tycoon video game that was popularly known or in the mainstream," General Interactive creative director Mark Fillion told Venturebeat. "I knew right away that's what I wanted to do—I wanted to make a video game that put players in charge of their own vineyard."

According to several reviewers, running a vineyard is stupid hard, mostly because the game simulates the unpredictable weather patterns of France's Bordeaux region. "One year might yield no rain whatsoever, while another might see no sun, meaning there's absolutely nothing you can do to keep your vines at a decent level of ripeness," one wrote, adding that one could be "completely bankrupt" within three gameplay years, all because the weather didn't cooperate. (Weirdly enough, this has made me feel both sympathetic for and impressed by even the worst wines I've grabbed from a grocery store shelf).

Any armchair vintner-and-viticulturist will be required to learn a lot about wine, from fermentation to how to best process the grapes to take advantage of a particular varietal. If you figure those things out, your virtual vineyard could progress through 100 years of gameplay. That kind of attention to detail could be why, according to Fillion, some real-life oenology courses have inquired about using it as a teaching tool.

Now if only someone would develop a sweat-mopping simulator, I'd be set.