Let’s raise a glass—self-serve wine dispensers are soon to be a thing in the west Metro thanks to Top Ten Liquors and its novel concept—Wineside. The Minneapolis chain of liquor stores has its eye on a September (at press time) opening of the ultimate high-end wine and cheese bar, restaurant, charcuterie market, grocery and liquor store in Minnetonka.
The updated space (formerly home to Champps across from Ridgedale Center) is designed creatively to feed customers through their journey of tasting wine and eating expertly-curated provisions. “Wineside is an expansion of the future of our business, which is to extend the experience of buying, enjoying and discovering wine with the perfect food pairings,” says Omar Torres, Top Ten Liquors’ vice president of marketing.
The casual interior design and concept gives Wineside the flexibility to go with the times, even unprecedented ones. This area of Minnetonka is seeing a high level of action as it transforms into an experiential locale, including more retail and dining businesses, residential options, expanding walkways and Ridgedale Commons Park.
Whether it’s morning coffee, lunchtime fare, dinner out or a glass of wine with friends, Wineside intentionally created an unpretentious space that’s easy to navigate for guests. Here’s what to expect.
Self-serve Wine Tasting
Wineside will provide an open space, ideal to sample wines from all over the world. Customers can pour wine from dispensers placed throughout the store, becoming the first self-serve wine bar experience in the west Metro, allowing guests to taste from more than 100 bottles.
The volume of wine shouldn’t be a deterrent or fuel intimidation. Customers will be greeted by a hostess, who guides them through preloading a Wineside card, which is used at the dispensers. Then it’s wine time. Customers can peruse sections organized by wine varieties, choose a wine of interest, insert the card, select the number of ounces desired to drink and pour a glass of the beverage of choice. Shoppers should take note of the wines enjoyed during the process, as they’ll be able to purchase them by the bottle at the adjacent liquor store. (Wineside is working on an app to help
in the process.)
In addition to information about each wine at the dispenser, wine leads will be available to help and share details about the wines’ origins and even illustrate why Wineside decided to include the varieties in its vast inventory. “It’s about giving our customers the opportunity to taste and to explain what they like to drink, so knowledgeable wine leads can help with their experience,” Torres says.
From the wine dispenser area, customers are able to bring their wine selections into the bar and restaurant for expertly curated pairings.
Wine Bar and Restaurant
Slide into a booth, lounge on the patio, or sit at a high-top or community table. Torres says it is not only about discovering wine. This is where customers build out their food experience.
Wineside is designing a full-service menu to pair well with its wines. “We’re not a place that is just going to offer hundreds of bottles of wine by the glass,” Torres says. “It’s that you can taste and try all those wines with well-tailored foods—the right breads, crackers, hams, pasta, flatbreads, charcuterie boards, cheeses, specialty salts and jams—that go 100 percent with your wine selection.”
Bringing the customer experience home is an option, too. Some menu items and ingredients will be available to purchase in the grocery section. Like what you taste? Why not bring it home?
For those in the mood for something other than wine, Wineside can quench that, too. A small bar area for cocktails, mocktails and brews will be included on site.
Take note: The curated selection of gourmet food in the restaurant is set to be available in the market. In addition to wine and spirits, Wineside will tap into all-day gastronomic cravings with a deli area, grab-and-go sandwiches and fresh-baked pastries and a coffee, tea and pressed juice bar.
The store will be open to all guests, who can shop without sampling wine. Pop in for an assortment of specialty grocery items in addition to cured meats and artisan cheeses.
Retail Liquor Store
To complete the experience, the adjacent liquor store will offer for-purchase bottles of wines from the tasting room. Additionally, there will be varieties of beer and spirits.
“Wineside will be an innovative and transformative experience for Twin Cities customers [and is] created to providing customers with a new and unique way to experience tasting and learning about wine, eating and shopping,” says Jon Halper, owner and CEO of Top Ten Liquors. “… We can’t wait to share our new concept with our customers in the coming months.”