Rock, Paper, Scissors With Wine

rock paper scissors hands generic

In Northern California's wine country, where good taste and genteel sophistication are cultivated as carefully as the vines, something different is going on at the Roshambo Winery.

Here the Chardonnay and Zinfandel come with tattoos and a rock 'n' roll attitude. Naomi Brilliant runs the place.

Wine being poured by a tattooed, dyed-haired Brilliant is not what one would expect to see in a wine country tasting room.

"Well, a wine business has to change. You know, there's people out here, like myself, who have no place to go. This is their place," she says.

The vineyard was started by Brilliant's grandfather. She decided the winery needed a name as different as its style.

"So I asked everybody I knew to come up with five names. And I said, 'We'll Roshambo for it.' And at that moment I said to myself, 'That's the name,' " says Brilliant.

Roshambo is one of several names given to the old game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. It's unclear if Count Rochambeau, the French General it's named after, actually used it to settle disputes. But there's no disputing the games new popularity and, for the winery, it's a great excuse for a party.

Brilliant has started a Roshambo tournament.

As Brilliant speaks out of a bullhorn, "I want to welcome everybody to the Roshambo 4th annual Rock, Paper, Scissors championships," the enthusiastic crowd seems evidence that Rock, Paper, Scissors is no longer just child's play.

Doug Walker was brought in to preside over the tournament. Somehow he and his brother managed to write a 194-page guide to a game that has only three moves.

"A lot of people start playing this game in grade school, dismissing it as a game of chance, and not realizing that, as an adult, using adult psychology, game theory, those kind of things, that you can actually get yourself an edge in the game," says Walker.

Walker believes that Rock, Paper, Scissors is anything but a game of chance.

A self-described master of the game, calling himself only Master Roshambolla, says that "The role of a Rock, Paper, Scissors master is to simultaneously conceal and reveal."

Once an accountant, he now travels the Rock, Paper, Scissors circuit as a commentator.

"You know, you have to bring a lot of strategies to the table," he says. "You have to have a lot of ways to win and no ways to lose. That's the best thing I can say."