TCWEP May Networking

Minnetonka Orchards – Laid-back Country Charm

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Last month was momentous, marking TCWEP’s 10 year anniversary. Today is special to us too, as it is 10-years-and-1-month of TCWEP events.
Descending from the parking area, gravel crunching beneath shoes, surprise awaits us all — the beautiful white North Woods reception tent partially nestled in dark green pine trees. More about this in a moment…

North Woods Tent
North Woods tent

Today’s Event Sponsors

Blush & Pearls Studio – Photography
Luckys 13 Pub – Beverages
Minnetonka Orchards – Venue
Muddy Paws Cheesecake – Dessert
Rack Shack BBQ – Catering
Sonovent Productions – DJ Music
Ultimate Events – Tent

The Venue

Breathe fresh country air here at today’s event on the rolling 40+ acres of Minnetonka Orchards at 6530 County Road 26, Minnetrista, MN 55364. Ideal for escaping the city and enjoying a scenic setting. The grounds feature trails, apple trees, rose bushes and plenty of wide open space.

Founded in 1976, Minnetonka Orchards is a family-owned orchard featuring 12 acres of apple orchards. The orchard took to hosting weddings in 2005.

  • Pet friendly
  • Bridal suite
  • Hayrides, Bonfires, Petting Zoo, Corn Maze
  • Liability insurance
  • Outside vendors
  • Tables, Chairs, Drapery
  • Dance floor
  • Parking
  • Wheelchair access

There’s many picture-perfect locations. A ceremony gazebo, screened-in gazebo, bridge and two wedding party barns available. Modern amenities are present as well: flushable bathrooms, custom drink serving bars, and an ample car parking lot.

Video: TCWEP Testimonials

The Tent

Inside the 5,000 sq. ft. North Woods tent measuring 50′ x 100′ a soft glow of whitish light cocoons everything. The effect is quite nice. Magical.
The sort of light that advertisers pay big bucks for in their photo-shoots because colors pop, people’s skin looks fabulous, and it’s simply flattering.
If you ever have the opportunity to be swallowed by a giant tent filled with magical light, and are equally lucky to be photographed – take it! See more event tents at Ultimate Events.

The Catering

rack shack bbq

Rack Shack BBQ prides themselves on putting guests at ease. They’re friendly & professional staff arrives fully prepared. They include plates, forks, knives, napkins, and all buffet service utensils and food-warming chaffers.
All-Weather Friendly
Rack Shack provides fully enclosed chaffers (the silver metal food heating containers seen in all the photos) that protect the food and heating source from weather elements – such as rain and wind. They’ve “got it covered” so to speak!

Hand-Crafted Sauces

Look for Rack Shack’s 8 hand-crafted vegetarian, gluten-free signature sauces at your local super market. Flavors include:
Carolina Vinegar East Coast sauce with a light smooth heat
Georgia Sticky Sweet, mild brown sugar & mustard flavors
Houston Fire Texas oil hot! Rich & bold
Kansas City Spice A thick sauce with a KC kick
Memphis Sweet Hints of chocolate with a smoky spice
New Orleans Ghost You should be scared…. it’s hauntingly HOT!
Savannah Heat Southern hot & spicy
St Paulie Savory Traditional BBQ sauce “Minnesota Nice”
As of this writing they are available at HyVee Lakeville, HyVee Eagan, and HyVee Savage. And currently in talks with more stores including CUB.

Today’s Menu

  • Sliced Beef Brisket
  • Pulled Pork
  • Large White Buns
  • Corn Bread Traditional, moist & cooling to the palate. Vegetarian
  • Claire Slaw Home made fresh daily traditional coleslaw. Gluten free, vegetarian
  • Cheesy Mac Not made from a box! 3-cheese blend with a kick of jalapeño

The Dessert

Muddy Paws Cheesecake
Cupcake Minis by Muddy Paws Cheesecake

Decadent cupcake minis by Muddy Paws Cheesecake are being enjoyed in flavors of Caramel Apple and Apple Crumb.
Insider Insight: Muddy Paws Cheesecakes has over 30 flavors of their artisan cheesecakes available year round. They especially love doing 2 tier cheesecakes for bride & groom, and piles of cupcake minis for all the wedding guests.

The Beverages

A bartender from Lucky 13 Pub bar service is on hand today pouring wine from Painter Creek Winery & Cidery which is just next door to Minnetonka Orchards. The winery was built in what used to be a horse stable and provides today’s wine.

How are wine grapes even possible to grow here in our harsh Minnesota winters?
Well, Minnetonka Orchards owners, Lowell and Phyllis, give credit to the University of Minnesota for taking Minnesota’s native wild grape and conditioned it into a cold-climate wine grape  (one that will survive 30 below). Because of the development of these cold climate wine grapes, such as Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac Blanc, Frontenac Gris and Itasca and several others, Painter Creek Winery & Cider is now able to grow hardy grapes and produce very good wines. These Minnesota Cold Climate grapes are changing the wine industry across the northern US, Canada and northern Europe. The Schaper’s wanted to be part of that change. 

After purchasing an old horse stable adjacent to Minnetonka Orchards’ property in 2012, the Schaper family and hard-working employees planted the first grapes. Renovation started in 2015 to turn the horse stables into a wine production center and tasting room. Painter Creek Winery is now in its first successful year of business, with over six wines and multiple specialty ciders. With enough room to accommodate events, Painter Creek Winery is a great place to host an event. If you can dream it up, the Painter Creek Winery team has the tools to help make your event truly unique.

The DJ Music

Sonovent Productions keeps the music going during our event. Sonovent provides event production and live sound support that’s effortless and inspiring. Aaron Bogen, who has over 8 years experience as a DJ, launched Sonovent Productions just this year in 2019. given his experience and presence, he’s doing quite well. Find him Sonovent Productions

The Photography

Blush & Pearls Studio is photographing today’s event. Heather, the lady behind the lens, has been shooting for over ten years now and loves working with couples on their special wedding day. She thinks there’s nothing better than telling love stories. Each couple possessing their own fairy tale. Chock-full of twists, turns, and adventures — beautiful messy adventures!

The Award

Jeannine Marie Photography
Michelle Tverberg, Jannine Pohl, Matthew Sherry, Elizabeth Sherry

Some of you may recall the moment of spirited improvisation last month during TCWEP’s 10 year anniversary awards gala when Susan Lee Wright and Lori Snyder bounded up on stage, clasped the microphone, and expressed their heartfelt admiration for Jeannine Pohl who was unable to accept her Diamonds-of-dedication TCWEP Member of the Year award because she was traveling internationally. It was momentous. Today Jeannine is back and able to receive the award in person. Congratulations Jeannine!