• An Idyllic Venue Indoors and Out

    FROM THE Summer 2022 ISSUE
    Photo credit: Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery & Distillery

At Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery & Distillery, the biggest allure isn’t the event center, where hundreds can mingle under its rafters, lofted ceiling, and two-tiered chandeliers. It’s not the barrel room, where up to 75 guests can converse amid the barrels lining the walls. Nor is it the myriad other spaces, including the creek-side tent with its floor-to-ceiling paned windows or the rustic atmosphere of the spirits room with its corrugated metal bar and pendant chandelier. 

Perhaps the biggest draw is the ambiance of the forested landscape, which seeps charm into every event and sets the mood for an effortless, refined event whether it’s indoors or outdoors. 

Chankaska Creek has a variety of event space to choose from, letting the sky be the limit for meeting planners. “That’s the nice thing about the woods—the tree line breaks up those spaces,” says Cynthia Strauser, Chankaska Creek’s director of events. 

Less than a 90-minute drive from the Twin Cities, Chankaska Creek makes the perfect short excursion for an idyllic gathering. The lush greenery provides photo-worthy backdrops for celebrations, networking, and more, and even if your event lands in the winter, the sparkling snow makes for an enchanting atmosphere. (And hey, more adventurous itineraries include a snowshoe romp.) 

Year-round group activities include tours and tastings, food pairings, blending classes, and wine education. Event coordinators can work with you to bring in other entertainment as well. 

In addition, the winery staff is always looking for ways to improve. For instance, in the past few years, Strauser has refined one of Chankaska Creek’s outdoor spaces, Chankaska Court. The bones of an amazing space were there, with a line of birch trees on each side and an oak tree backdrop, but she further brought out its beauty with well-placed woodchips, tall grass, and ferns. She also added a statue to create a welcoming focal point.

“It wasn’t a big project. It was, ‘Oh, let’s do this one thing and see how that works,’” Strauser reflects. And in the same patient, persistent way, the Chankaska event team will ensure your gathering is perfect—for you and your guests.

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