Bar profile: House Wine

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
By
From the July 11, 2013 edition

House Wine is a place for all types of wine drinkers — casual or experienced. Hundreds of staff-picked bottles are joined by 24 by-the-once offerings in an Enomatic wine dispenser. With 100 bottles and a handful of taps (a total of 12 coming later this summer) it’s also a place for beer drinkers. Simply put, House Wine is a great place to drink.

The understated storefront in downtown Worthington gives way to an open-air interior filled with wall-to-wall shelves of wine and a number of stylish tables and chairs for sipping with a date or friends. There’s also a nicely-sized, inviting patio outside.

The design almost immediately refutes any wine culture stereotypes of pretentiousness or elitism. Upon reading the wines’ descriptions or seeing how they’re categorized, this is unmistakable. Using food-pairing designations (poultry, seafood, beef, Italian, takeout, etc.) as well as fun, succinct and informative descriptions, House Wine makes novice and aficionado feel right at home.

“It’s designed for people looking to get into [wine], but there’s something for the experienced,” said owner Donnie Austin.

Austin is the personification of House Wine. He’s friendly and jovial, yet knowledgeable — a beer drinker and wine enthusiast who became a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009.

Official mea culpa time. This writer is fairly uninformed when it comes to wine and the classification system — three levels for reds and whites — and I’d never been more confident in choosing a bottle. That the terms were finesse, silky and robust (reds) and crisp, bright and vivacious (whites) gave this writer a minor word boner. But I digress.

House Wine offers a couple of excellent options for on-premise drinking. The Enomatic has one, three and five-once pours of an assortment of whites and reds. Prices rangfrom a buck or two to $8-$9 per ounce. It’s ideal for experimenting or finding something for that special occasion.For a bottle off the shelf, a small corkage fee applies. Happy hour offers $5 glasses and $1 off all beers and Mondays forgo corkage fees. The weekly Thursday wine tastings ($15) offers four or five (generous) samples.