Categorized | Events

2011 Minnesota Food & Wine Experience

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The great lakes region has a wine event it can be proud of and I was fortunate enough to be a small part of it. Invited by Dunham Cellars to come help pour for them – it was two days of pure food and wine mayhem.

Target Field was center-stage for what has got to be the largest wine event in the state of Minnesota and what a fantastic venue it really is.

Personally I was surprised and inspired by the turnout as there was this part of me that was a bit dismayed by the number of people asking for “sweet wines” but at the same time was glad they were out expanding their palates. Washington State was on-hand to represent the northwest and had a really nice turnout with the following wineries:

  • Mercer Estates
  • Hogue
  • Covey Run / Columbia Winery
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Long Shadows
  • Dusted Valley / Boomtown
  • Pepper Bridge
  • Saint Laurent
  • Dunham Cellars
  • Trust Cellars
  • Northstar

Washington State wineries had their own wing of the stadium and had no problems packing the house out for both days – good to see that Minnesotians know what’s up eh? :)


Eric Dunham’s 2008 Riesling landed all kinds of comments and feedback from the folks – most of whom claimed it was the best Riesling they had at the show. It has really nice acidity, only 2.3% residual sugar and great fruit – was one of my favs as well which made it very easy to be excited about.

A much drier style, Riesling, the Poet’s Leap is around 1.5% residual sugar and was also a favorite during the Washington Wine seminar on Sunday.

Dusted Valley/BoomTown wines were in full-force – its owner, Chad Johnson helped organize the entire Washington wine efforts at this event – always nice to have an ambassador like him.

Allen Shoup was pouring and had a constant crowd around his Long Shadows wines – the Pedestal and Feather showed very well.

In addition, there were wines from all over the world at this event, even South Africa. I did make it a point to try some Minnesota wine and to be honest, they have a long ways to go to be taken seriously by most wine drinkers. To me, it was sort of like Welches grape juice with alcohol – it’s difficult to grow most grapes there because of the ultra-harsh winters.

One of the best parts of any wine event, for me, is the chance to sample wines from other areas outside my home-state of Washington – so I was all over it and was glad i did.

Equally as impressive as the wine selection was the amount of quality food – from cheese to bacon-crusted sliders – the food was really out of control (in a good way). As a note, the bacon-crusted sliders were such a hit that they ran out after making over 1000 of them – go figure.

  • Guest

    Quite a few Minnesota wineries have pulled from this show, but have formed their own. Savor Minnesota. Check it out April 2 at Canterbury Park. You’ll have more Minnesota wines to choose from and I’m sure you’ll find at least one that you like!