BEST WINE SHOP - 2010
Wine today, even for those on a budget, isn't about picking up a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. The growth in interest—and an ever-expanding roster of quality wineries—means you have a great chance of finding a new, exciting taste. But the sheer number of wines can also be overwhelming. Enter France 44, which carries a monstrous inventory of more than 4,500 wines from 17 countries, but has a staff eager to help you find just the right bottle for your palate and budget, whether you're looking for a cheap vinho verde for everyday drinking or that rare $400 Barolo for a special occasion. The store takes education seriously, and often conducts two or three classes a week to help newcomers with the fundamentals or those with more experience try something fresh. The shop also recognizes the tight connection between wine and cheese, featuring fromage shops at its Minneapolis location and a stand-alone store in St. Paul. And while wine is the focus, France 44 is a full liquor store, so you can indulge in your beer (more than a thousand craft brews) and spirits tastes as well.