Exceptional Wines Continue
to Flourish

Award-winning wines from our 2020 Food & Wine Experience are still making statements.
Photo by Darin Kamnetz

When we look back to the first weekend of March and everything that has happened since COVID-19 changed our daily lives, we can’t help but thank our lucky stars that Minnesota Monthly‘s Food & Wine Experience at Target Field not only happened, but was such a smash hit amongst more than 6,500 guests. Some of these attendees came for the small gifts and vendors, others came for the mouthwatering bites, but many came to sip, sample, celebrate, and learn more about the incredible selection of local and international wines the event’s many exhibitors and sponsors offer year after year.

In fact, the 26th annual Food & Wine Experience hosted nearly 30 different wineries and vineyards in 2020—all bringing unique taste profiles that left a lasting impression on not only our guests, but the panel of respected wine experts that judged their red, white, and sparkling varieties in our Best Of competitions. (Yes, there are separate, wine-exclusive contests to recognize the best wines of our exhibitors!)

Behind-the-scenes shot of the 2020 private and blind tasting with our panel of wine experts.

During a private and blind tasting prior to the event, these judges awarded several honors to participants in two categories: Best of Show (within their respective varietals) and Best Value (retailing at $15 or less). Notably, California-based J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines and Oregon-based Coeur de Terre Vineyards each received several awards across both categories, but it was Minnesota’s own Carlos Creek Winery (located in Alexandria, our Best MN Town!) who took home three impressive honors—including Best of Show Cool Climate Red with its smooth and velvety 2017 Solmani, Best Value Cool Climate White with its semi-sweet 2019 Frontenac Blanc, and Best Value Sparkling with its bright and fruity 2019 Minnescato.

Additionally, Klinker Brick Winery, The Winery of Sovereign Estate, Fetzer Vineyards, and Bronco Wine Co. were awarded one Best of Show award, while O’Neill Vintners, Villa Bellezza, Frey Vineyards, and Jackson Family Wines received individual honors in the Best Value category.

It wasn’t until the actual event, though, that we shared the exciting news with our winning exhibitors. Beautiful custom medals were awarded to each of the winners to denote their fantastic accomplishment—sending a signal to passing guests that their wine was truly the best of the best!

Photo by Darin Kamnetz

But even in times like these, when we can’t sip and sample like we used to, that still holds true. Sure, the ways these wineries and vineyards conduct business may be changing and transforming, but we know their award-winning tastes are staying exactly the same. (If anything, they’re only getting better!)

So, next time you’re purchasing wine or dreaming of the day you’ll order a glass in-person again, think of these varietals listed below. And, especially now, do your best to support these local restaurants, bars, wineries, and vineyards within your community.

Photo by Darin Kamnetz

Congratulations to our 2020 winners! See a detailed list of our Best of Show and Best Value winners below:

BEST OF SHOW

BORDEAUX VARIETAL – CABERNET SAUVIGNON

2017 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon | J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

BORDEAUX VARIETAL – RED BLEND

2016 Old Ghost | Klinker Brick Winery

CHARDONNAY

2016 Riverstone Arroyo Seco Monterey Chardonnay | J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

COOL CLIMATE RED (MN or WI)

2017 Solmani | Carlos Creek Winery

COOL CLIMATE WHITE (MN or WI)

2018 La Crescent | The Winery of Sovereign Estate

PINOT GRIGIO

2018 Pinot Gris | Coeur de Terre Vineyards

PINOT NOIR

2015 Heritage Reserve | Coeur de Terre Vineyards

SAUVIGNON BLANC

2019 Bonterra Sauv Blanc | Fetzer Vineyards

SPARKLING

NV Allure Bubbly Peach | Bronco Wine Co.

Photo by Darin Kamnetz

BEST VALUE

BORDEAUX VARIETAL – CABERNET SAUVIGNON

2016 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon | O’Neill Vintners

BORDEAUX VARIETAL – RED BLEND

2018 Pacific Redwood Organic Syrah | Frey Vineyards

CHARDONNAY

2018 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay | J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

COOL CLIMATE WHITE (MN or WI)

2019 Frontenac Blanc | Carlos Creek Winery

FRUITY

NV Rosso D’Amici | Villa Bellezza

PINOT NOIR

2015 Oregon Pinot Noir | Coeur de Terre Vineyards

RIESLING

NV Riesling | Jackson Family Wines

SPARKLING

2019 Minnescato | Carlos Creek Winery

Many of these exhibitors and vendors are selling their wines online, so click their respective links to visit their websites and learn more.

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