Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Experience Celebrates 23 Years March 3-5

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend (ranging from 35 to 62 and sunny), and if you don’t already have plans, let me recommend a worth-every-penny event: the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience.

It’s not just any food and wine event, this is one of the biggest and best around (and it’s been around for 23 years, which speaks to its success). As an employee of the company who produces the Food & Wine Experience, I’ve been to the past 12 shows, from the early days at the Minneapolis Convention Center to today’s show at Target Field. I can say in all sincerity that it gets better every year.

Not only does the cost of a ticket allow you to sip a wide variety of wines and specialty brews (my favorite), sample fancy food (and cake!), and even do a little shopping, but it gets you access to an area of Target Field not typically open to the general public during ball games, specifically, the Metropolitan Club, Legend’s Club Concourse, Puckett Atrium, and Carew Atrium. And you can feel good about the fact that a portion of proceeds benefit Second Harvest Heartland.

Target Field is a truly stunning venue (think sunshine streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious areas, a nice “flow” to the foot traffic, classy, modern architecture and design, and happy people not worrying about work stress, health stress, family stress, just enjoying the company they’re with, the wine in their glass, and the sample in their hand. There is so much joy here, I can’t imagine an attendee not having a good time). The show is well-run and organized (again: it’s Minnesota Monthly’s 23rd year producing and running this event) and the vendors are passionate about sharing their knowledge. It’s fun and informational.

If you want a more intimate experience with serious wine aficionados, attend the Grand Red Tasting Friday, March 3 at Muse Event Center. The tasting will feature a fantastic selection of red wines that represent almost every wine region in the world, gourmet bites, and live music at one of the hippest spots in town—Muse Event Center. Tickets are $90 in advance; $95 at the door (subject to availability).

Some seminars at the Food & Wine Experience are sold out, but attendees do have a chance to attend a Sunday seminar at 11:30 a.m., prior to the official start of the show. Jester Concepts’ Bar Director Jesse Held will lead a discussion on “Mixology 101,” complete with demonstrations and cocktail samples. Limited tickets are available here.

To buy tickets to the Food & Wine Experience, visit foodwineshow.com. Tickets are $80 in advance; $85 at the door (subject to availability). If you go, park in Target Field Ramp A, then head to the third level entrance. There’s only one way to get into this venue, and serious show attendees arrive an hour (or more) early to line up. Once doors open, staff works as hard as possible to get everyone in as quickly as possible. There is a coat check available, and plenty of variety. (A pregnant friend went three years ago and said she had the best time, happily eating her way through the show. Another friend, who prefers whiskey to wine, was more than satisfied with the spirit offerings.)

Make it a special night by staying at the posh W Minneapolis — The Foshay or the luxury art hotel Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis (both offering exclusive Food & Wine show rates, available online). Cheers!