Lake Elmo Inn honored by Wine Spectator

Restaurant receives Award of Excellence for 15th straight year

The Lake Elmo Inn has once again earned "Wine Spectator" magazine's prestigious "Award of Excellence" for its wine selection.

The publication honored a total of 2,563 restaurants worldwide this year with an Award of Excellence, including 21 in Minnesota. The Lake Elmo Inn has received the award for 15 consecutive years. 

Award of Excellence winners typically offer 90 or more wine selections, with a wine list offering "an interesting and diverse selection of wines that are well-presented and thematically match the restaurant's cuisine in price and style," according to Wine Spectator.

For over 11 years, restaurant manager Erik Forrest has been selecting wines for the Lake Elmo Inn, which is located in Lake Elmo's downtown Village district. He says his general approach when picking out bottles for the restaurant is to find wines that have great versatility to pair well with the wide range of dishes the Lake Elmo Inn serves.

The restaurant currently offers around 150 different wine selections that range in price from around $25 to $300 per bottle.

"The whole idea is to find the best quality wines for the greatest value," he says.

While Forrest is at home discussing a wine's subtle nuances of flavor and aroma with other aficionados, he believes wine should be approachable and accessible to anyone in any price range.

He says he enjoys broadening a person's understanding of how unique wine really is and exposing people to different wine varieties. But, he says, wine selection should generally be made based on what appeals to a person's palate.

"Ultimately, it's all about enjoying it," he says.

In addition to receiving the wine Award of Excellence for the past 15 years, the business, owned by John and Christine Schiltz, has received other awards over the years for its food.

"It's overall one of the best restaurants in the state of Minnesota," Forrest says. "I take a lot of pride and feel privileged to be a part of it."

— Joshua Nielsen


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