Long before our winery was even conceptualized, the Dakota Indian tribe roamed, hunted and rooted their culture in the rich and fertile lands of what we now know as, the Southern Minnesota River Valley. Giving special attention to the creek that gracefully ripples through the present ranch, and the lush forest that embraces us, the Dakota named the creek, “Chankaska,” meaning “enclosed by forest.”
As the beauty and abundance of the earth provided for and sustained the Dakota tribe in the past, we presently utilize the soil that is so richly seeped in history, to foster truly unique grapes for our wines. We are honored to have such a special parcel of land to build our dream upon and remain respectful to its heritage and story.
Chankaska Creek Ranch, LLC was formed on June 19, 2008 out of a pure and unadulterated passion for wine and the artistry of winemaking. The goal of our founders was to not only produce the finest wines possible, but also create a unique experience for our patrons at the ranch.
Our belief was, and is, that the experience of wine extends far beyond the palate. Aromas can return us to childhood memories, a certain bouquet of flavors can forever be correlated to a special event in our lives, and wine is shared with those we love as a vehicle to bring people together over fantastic conversations and meals. In essence, wine is an experience, and we take pairing ours perfectly to the special moments of life.
The lineage of grapes at Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery was christened in 2008. As grapes take up to three years to grow before first harvest, we then turned our attention to the rest of the Ranch! In fall of 2010, construction began on our 11,000 square foot winery and tasting room with an opening date set for May 2012.
In these buildings we strove to create an atmosphere of rustic warmth, with a sophisticated edge. We selected repurposed and aged woods offset by various metals and ironwork. Our goal was to make our guests feel that the winery was warm, friendly, accessible, and unlike anything else they have ever experienced.
Wanting to stay true to the historical roots of the land and estate, we chose not to tear down the original farmhouse near the winery. Instead, to celebrate this unique structure built in 1864 and homesteaded as Chankaska Creek Ranch, we restored it and turned it into our winemaker’s on-site residence. This brings a whole new caliber of proximity to ‘babysitting the grapes,” as the vineyard is right outside our winemaker’s front door!
As our dream started to solidify, we turned our focus onto creating beautiful and functional outdoor event venues for our guests. In all, 6 such sites were created to be perfectly paired to any occasion our patrons may wish to host. They also serve as sites for Chankaska sponsored events throughout the year and have allowed us to partner with amazing local businesses, non-profit philanthropic ventures, and to offer something that is truly unlike anything else in the area for our guests!
Wanting to spare no expense, our event sites are meticulously landscaped and maintained. Our floral and fauna architecture was carefully chosen to be colorful and balanced, but not overstated to pull away from the focus of an event, or a bride! Since their creation, our outside venues have become one of the most popular wedding sites in the entire state!
Chankaska was so proud to be chosen, in 2015, to participate in the interactive sculpture tour. Several beautiful works of art and sculpture are stationed at various points on our property. Guests can stop at each one and use their smartphone to learn more about each artist and even inquire about purchasing!
We agreed from the inception of of our winery that giving back to the local community would be a pivotal piece of our business practice. To be able to do this through art that is complimented by our estate is the perfect pairing! It has since become a highlight for many of our guests when they visit us.
In December of 2010, we hired our first winemaker to craft Chankaska’s inaugural wines. With his experience and expertise, we outfitted the new winery with the most advanced equipment for harvesting, manufacturing and aging both wine and spirits. Our choices were based not only on what was the most up to date in methodology, but also what would keep the integrity and authenticity of the practice alive.
Thank you for choosing our wines to commemorate the events and special moments of your life. By your patronage, you become party to our dream and the unfolding of our story.