Jason DeRusha’s Top Picks for the Food & Wine Experience

Annual event returns to Target Field is March 4-6

It’s almost here! This weekend is the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience. It was the last major event I attended before COVID-19 shut down the world, and it’s going to be one of the first many of us take part in now that things are looking really good as far as a low number of cases and hospitalizations.

So if you’re coming to Target Field make sure you thank the winemakers and restaurant-owners who came out! We’re so grateful to them for taking this step toward normalcy. We’ll have lots of wines there for you to sample, but I wanted to give you five wine vendors that you should make sure to visit:

  • J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines
    Pure Paso and Hilltop are terrific central California wines. I’ve been a fan of J. Lohr for a long time. They’ve been making great wines in Paso Robles and Monterey since way before that part of California was cool.
  • Cache Creek Vineyards
    Haven’t heard of them? You will. Cache Creek is part of the Lake County Winery Association from California, and they produce a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that’s likely to be the talk of the show.
  • Olof Cellars
    Also from the Lake County Association, Olof Cellars brings Italian grapes to California. I’m a hard-core Nebbiolo fan and I can’t wait to try their $33 2014 Nebbiolo. Olof is from Lakeport, Calif., which is north of Santa Rosa, west of Sacramento, and close to the ocean.
  • Small Lot Wine
    One of our terrific local wine distributors, it’s fun to see Small Lot at the show. They have a great collection of wines, from bright Proseccos to a Portuguese producer called Lago. There’s lots of buzz for Portuguese wine, and I’m excited to try the Lago Vinho Verde and the Duoro Valley Red ($13). They’re pouring a French Pinot from Languedoc that I’m excited to try as well.

Other wines exciting me: Lange Twins’ Chardonnay, Laujor Estate’s Tempranillo, and Murphy-Goode’s Zinfadel (at the Jackson Family wines area).

Also, we’ve seen great quality from Minnesota wineries, so make sure you check out 7 Vines Vineyard, AxeBridge, Carlos Creek, Chankaska Creek, Mousse Sparkling Wine (a local Pet-Nat!), Parley Lake and more.

You’ll find lots of other stuff too. Look for Codigo Tequila, Lift Bridge and Utepils Brewing, Sociable Cider Werks and Duluth Cider, plus Keepers Heart whiskey. Food? Yep! Check out Cafe Latte, The St. Paul Grill, soon-to-open momento. Lots of good stuff!

Get your tickets to the Food and Wine Experience here. Use code JASON to save 50%!