Nestled into the lush rolling hills and fertile soil of the Southern Minnesota River Valley, lies the award-winning Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery. Summer mornings see over 13 acres of meticulously tended vines bathed in the warmth of the nurturing sun. Evening sunsets illuminate the gorgeous landscape and rippling creek that embrace the winery. This is a place where magic and memories are paired perfectly with a family of wines that are completely redefining the industry with their uniqueness and craftsmanship.
Why the name “Chankaska?” The history of the Mankato area is steeped in the culture and heritage of the Dakota Indian Tribes who were once prevalent in this area. “Chankaska,” in Dakota, means “forest enclosed,” and is the namesake for the creek that gently rolls throughout our property. Wanting to respect and honor this unique historical detail, we chose to name the winery after Chankaska creek.
From the inception of Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, we were firm on our resolve to create a winery that not only generated world class wines, but also a place where our guests could come to enjoy them, share moments with friends and family, and use our beautiful estate as the setting for some of the most intimate and memorable events of their lives. In essence, we wanted our wine to be an Experience, not just a product.
The vision of our winery stems from the dreams and ambitions of our majority owners, Kent and Jane Schwickert. After traveling to over 100 wineries throughout the United States and Europe, Kent began to build and shape their concept for the ideal winery. As a couple, they bring a diverse background of experience and entrepreneurship in successful businesses that made them prepared for the challenge of a winery operation.
Established in 2008, on 25 acres just outside of Kasota, MN, Chankaska has quickly grown to be the second largest winery in Minnesota. Named “Best Winery” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, we are also one of the most popular event sites for weddings in the entire Midwest. Since our first year of distribution, we have won a myriad of awards for our wines. We are currently distributed throughout 300 accounts in Minnesota.
Producing wonderful variations of reds, whites, roses and spirits, Chankaska’s vision of elevating the brand throughout the nation is quickly coming to fruition. An integral part of this exposure is our very popular, Wine Circle membership. We consider this one of the best ways to experience our wines for true wine lovers!
Our Wine Circle membership is comprised of over 1,500 wine lovers. These wine aficionados pay no membership fee, but commit to accepting four shipments of wine a year for at least one year. These shipments are sent directly to their homes, or pick up at the winery is available, at which time we also have fun events to celebrate the new selections. In addition, Wine Circle members also receive complimentary tastings, event passes, discounts on additional wines, and other perks. Members work directly with our Chankaska Wine Circle Concierge to optimize their experience. This is the perfect way to take part in everything Chankaska has to offer!
Going beyond just wine, Chankaska’s latest enterprise is in the distilling of whiskey, gin and brandy. We are currently the only winery in Minnesota to hold a distilled spirits license. Being from Tennessee himself, our winemaker Mike Drash is passionate about making whiskey! To support his efforts, we imported a still all the way from Germany, whose company also provided extensive training for our staff. By offering hard spirits, we’re able to add a rebellious twist to growing list of Chankaska’s offerings!
Staying true to our mission of making our wines an “Experience,” Chankaska offers six venues for large groups and events. By far, weddings are our most popular and cherished events. We also cater to receptions, birthday parties, showers, corporate functions and almost anything else a host can think of! Visit our website to see a list of events that we offer each year like the popular, “Uncorked,” or “A Toast to Women.”
Our very popular Barrel Room can accommodate a party of 50 to 75 people; while up to 100 guests can gather on the Tasting Patio. On the right bank of the creek, the aptly named Creekside features a 40×80 tent with cathedral windows, flooring and an additional lawn. It offers seating for about 200 guests. Across the bridge, in Chankaska Forest, there’s theatre-style seating for 250 guests or dining space for 200. More athletic guests can play bocce ball or croquet on Chankaska Court. And for guests seeking a private view of the Minnesota River Valley, there’s the hilltop Chankaska Field. Regardless of the event site chosen, we promise your event will be exceptional and memorable.
Many guests chose to simply stop in for an afternoon in our Tasting Room. Here you can sit and relax with friends as your sample all of our wines and spirits as they are perfectly paired with delicious appetizers and small plates. Plus, you can ask to take a tour of the winery and see first hand how the process of vine to table works! Finish off your afternoon by shopping in our boutique retail area that offers a fun and unique assortment of wine themed gifts, apparel and gifts from local businesses.
Whether you simply stop into our Tasting Room, join our Wine Circle Select membership to enjoy our wines from home, or honor us with booking a special event on our grounds; the Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery welcomes you to our family. Thank you for supporting our dream and mission to make Chankaska Wines some of the most notable in the country.
Cheers to a perfect pairing of life, love and a great glass of wine!