Despite good intentions to visit House Wine for months, I never seemed to make it—a cold sidelined me in January when I had planned to attend their IPA tasting; another time a friend cancelled last-minute for happy hour. It wasn’t until May when I finally made my way into the beautifully designed store in Worthington and immediately regretted not making it sooner. Owner/operator Donnie’s enthusiasm and appreciation for wine (as well as for beer and spirits) is quite contagious.
Accommodating all ranges of taste, wine experience, and budget, House Wine is tucked just off High Street in Worthington at E. New England Avenue. If you’ve ever been to the Worthington Farmers’ Market, it’s in the parking lot where the produce vendors are located. Inside the store, you’ll find that wines are organized by varietal (against the walls) as well as by food pairings (on racks in the center of the store), and all wine is hand-picked by the staff to obtain the best wines for each price point. While browsing, you’ll notice that wines are marked with color-coded informational shelf tags. Realizing the different approaches customers take in buying wine (for example: basing their selection on price, critic rating, or label description), Donnie wanted to provide all of this information on one, intuitive and detailed label to help the customer make the best informed purchase.
House Wine is not only a wine shop, it is also a wine bar. Its inviting and spacious interior offers seating throughout the shop. They have just opened their patio, which faces E. New England Avenue, allowing customers to enjoy their glass of wine al fresco. Donnie also hosts wine tastings on Thursdays for a very reasonable 15.00 per person. One of my favorite features at House Wine is the Enomatics wine machine. (House Wine was the first establishment in Ohio to offer the Enomatics in 2007.) The Enomatics is a self-serve dispenser allowing customers to taste a fairly broad selection of wine (selection is always changing) in either 1 oz, 2 oz, or 3 oz increments. One great benefit to the Enomatics is that it gives customers, like myself who don’t necessarily have a large wine budget, the chance to taste some high-end wines.
And don’t let its name mislead you: House Wine also houses an impressive selection of craft beer. They offer 75 bottled beers (on a rotating basis) which can either be enjoyed in-store or purchased in mix-and-match six-packs to go. They also have beer on tap and have recently begun cocktail service. While they do serve a selection of cheese and charcuterie, customers have the option to order meals from their new neighbor, Rivage (CMH Gourmand has a nice write-up on their food here), who will gladly deliver to House Wine customers.
If you don’t live near Worthington, the trip to House Wine is well worth it, whether to pick up a bottle or two, or to enjoy a glass on the patio with friends. If you do live near Worthington, you’re probably already familiar with Donnie and House Wine.
Photography courtesy of guest photographer, Patti Simmons.