Ali Hanson loves the culture surrounding wine. Five years living in “dreamy” Santa Barbara will do that to a person.
The Buffalo, Minn., native moved there after college with her now husband, and the pair would spend evenings at their favorite wine-tasting rooms in the city, and weekends visiting wineries in the area with friends. “It very much became part of our social life,” Hanson said.
So when the couple started to plan moving back to Minnesota last year, Hanson wondered, “What do we want to bring back from California?”
Wine, of course.
More specifically, the wine-tasting room scene they had fallen in love with, which put each bottle into context.
“The product itself is lovely,” Hanson explained, “but it’s so much more than that. It’s the human connection. There’s a story behind every bottle, a family behind every bottle. Learning about the journey and what goes into it, how many hands touch it, and also the uniqueness of wine — you’re never going to get the same thing twice.”
This month, a dash of that California wine experience comes to Hopkins with the opening of the Vine Room (756 Mainstreet, Hopkins, 952-300-3534, thevineroom.co). The plant-filled space is bringing a “contemporary California vibe” to Mainstreet, beginning Aug. 16.
“There really wasn’t a lot in the wine bar category,” Hanson said about the location. “Looking in the suburbs, there was a huge opportunity.”
The wine list will offer four curated, rotating wine flights so guests can taste more of the selections — many of which are sustainably produced, biodynamic and from California. There will also be beers from Hopkins’ LTD Brewing and Minnetonka’s Unmapped Brewing on tap, “so we have something for every palate,” Hanson said.
There will be food for snacking: cheese and charcuterie boards, hummus and vegetables, warm Brie with fruit, “enough there to allow you to stay for a second glass.”
The Vine Room will be open evenings during the week, and starting at noon on the weekends. There will be live music, wine education classes, and a yoga and wine pairing.
Hanson expects Twin Citians will make the short drive to Hopkins for a taste, as wine lovers stake their claim in a saturated beer world.
“The brewery scene came and exploded,” she said. “I think people are going to be excited about what’s next.”