DeRusha's Tips: How to Get the Most Out of the Food & Wine Experience

A guide to how food critic Jason DeRusha does the Food & Wine Experience at Target Field (March 2-3)

Photo by TJ Turner

I can’t wait for this weekend’s Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience. Based on the blind tasting I was a part of a couple weeks ago, this is some of the best-quality wine we’ve had at this show in years. It can be overwhelming, with more than 150 different food, drink, and other vendors. There will probably be 300 bottles of wines poured.

So here are some tips: Go upstairs! Avoid the crowd! Go to the suite level and check out the biodynamic wines—some of the best in the show! (Bonterra, Rodney Strong, Opolo, Kunde, and Montinore.)

When you walk in on the main level, you’ll enter the Puckett Atrium in the Legends Club area (between first base and home plate, looking at the field). You’ll find all the cheeses (Ellsworth, the Caves of Faribault) as well as some great Minnesota wines from Carlos Creek and Parley Lake.

Also near the Legends Club on the concourse level, make sure you visit the Wine Wall. There’s a $5 raffle, and two winners get over $1,000 in wine. Proceeds benefit the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. You’ll also find some great spirits in that area: Loon Liquor has an amazing coffee liqueur, Bushmills is always excellent, and check out SoulBoxer, which has ready-to-pour Old Fashioneds that are quite delicious. The Bernick’s Beer Bazaar is around there, too, where you’ll find Utepils, Castle Danger, Insight, and more.

Photo by TJ Turner

On the main concourse level, the Willamette Valley wines are going to be a huge attraction—Coeur de Terre, Ruby Vineyard, Adelsheim, Le Cadeau. What a thrill to have this lauded group of Oregon wines here, new to our show. Right nearby, you’ll see Coalition, that great restaurant from Excelsior and Edina, along with Cafe Latte, Oceanaire, and Frankie’s Pizza.

Don’t forget about the Bat and Barrel Club. That’s where you’ll find Butcher & the Boar, 4 Bells, Woodford Reserve, plus some awesome Washington wines: Browne, Hedges, Boomtown, and the House of Rohl. In the middle, try some Glen Moray Scotch and grab a cupcake from Smallcakes.

So, that’s a start, anyway. Tell me what you love when you’re there. And say hi! I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday—and you can still get tickets for either day (plus a limited amount of VIP tickets, which get you free parking and early access at noon). Save 50 percent on VIP tickets by using the code JASON. Save 25 percent on regular tickets by using the code WCCO. Enjoy!