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Photography by Spacecrafting

Marcus Hanson

Small Lot Wine & Spirits

Marcus Hanson, minister of wine and director of portfolio for Small Lot Wine & Spirits, has a mission statement for life: connecting people and sharing joy through food, wine and music. Hanson — who studied music at St. Olaf then sang a cappella professionally — realized he could do just that years ago. It started when he worked as a sommelier at Three Crows Cafe in Delano to earn some extra cash after becoming a stay-at-home dad. On a French wine night at the eatery, he decided to sing from the opera Carmen. “I did it half-jokingly, but jaws hit the floor,” he says, recalling the audience’s enthusiastic response.

Then 10 years ago, he joined Small Lot Wine & Spirits, a company focused on family-owned wineries from around the world, or what they call “wines with soul.” He soon realized that wine presentations could use more of that authentic connection.

“Wine is a complicated and intimidating subject matter for many, because it involves foreign language, geography, history, agriculture, geology and chemistry,” he says. “Opera is similarly viewed as highbrow or complicated. I remind audiences that wine is just an ancient method for preserving food and, over in Europe, wine came up at the same time as opera. People went to the opera to be entertained; it was pop music.”

Hanson’s events fuse wine and music, transporting attendees to places around the world like Italy, Portugal and Australia. “It opens the door — and heart — for people to hear about wine in a different way,” he notes. “Not a purely academic way or a fluffy, artistic way, but in a real, visceral way where they are experiencing wine with all of their senses.”

And if people love the idea of Small Lot Wine & Spirits but can’t attend a presentation or host a singing sommelier? Then there’s the company’s app, Sourcd, which helps consumers learn about and locate its craft wines at area retailers.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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