Wine can be intimidating, especially for those who didn’t grow up in Napa Valley or Bordeaux. While there is a lot to experience in a great glass of wine, everyone is different and enjoys different things (and then every bottle of wine is different, too…). Sampling wines and comparing with friends and professionals alike is a great way to explore those deep flavors, tones and textures. Here are a few places to visit and try some wine.
102 2nd St. S., Suite 1
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 439-1352

The much-loved and award-winning Stillwater restaurant and wine bar only got better when it opened the adjacent wine shop. Known for having one of the strongest and most extensive wine lists in the area, Domacin’s selections are sure to please your palate. Not convinced? Every Friday and Saturday you can sample the featured wines and find what’s perfect for you.

Photo Credit: Toast Wine Bar and Cafe

Photo Credit: Toast Wine Bar and Cafe

Toast Wine Bar
415 1st St. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 333-4305

Located beneath the beautiful and historic Heritage Building in Minneapolis’ warehouse district, Toast has brought quality wines to Twin Cities’ tasters since 2006. There’s a great menu of eats to go along with your vino, but it’s really all about what comes out of the bottle. And for tastings, you can set up a flight prior to arriving to sample various types of what they have in store on any given day. Whether you’re on a romantic date or out with a group of friends, this is a great way to get to know the wide world of wine.

303 Hennepin Ave. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-3232

Some of the best wine tastings are found at Minneapolis’ premier wine and cheese store. Known for its extensive selection, the knowledgeable staff will help you find what you’re looking for. As searching for wine can be intimidating, sometimes the best way to get to know what you like is to taste it beforehand. Every Friday and Saturday, stop by Surdyk’s tasting table to sample a changing selection of wine. Also keep an eye out for the “4 for $40,” where they bring up four bottles of wine for you to taste, and from there choose any combination to equal $40 to take home with you.

Related:  Best Wine Stores In The Twin Cities

(credit: Amy C. Rea)

(credit: Amy C. Rea)

Grand View Lodge
23521 Nokomis Ave.
Nisswa, MN 56468
(866) 801-2951

Looking to get away to the serenity of northern Minnesota? And maybe enjoy some wine while you’re at it? Every Tuesday and Thursday at the majestic Grandview Lodge there are wine tastings that are both educational and purely enjoyable. Each month is dedicated to a different wine region, for example, August is Sonoma, September is Chile, and so on, allowing you to travel the world in a glass. Pop into the restaurant after sampling with the certificate they’ll give you and enjoy your favorite glass gratis.

Swirl Wine Bar
3291 S. St. Croix Trail
Afton, MN 55001
(651) 436-2010

Combining shopping experience (during which you can enjoy a glass of wine), restaurant with creative plates, wine bar with relaxed vibe, and wine club that really let’s you get involved with wine and the people who drink it, Swirl is the one-stop-shop for everything vino. By joining the wine club, you’ll get access to private wine tastings and other special events, but you don’t have to;  if you take a look at the calendar, there are plenty of wine tasting events for the public to enjoy as well.

Related: Best Wine And Cheese Bars In The Twin Cities

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.