How to have a McNinch House experience without the McNinch House price tag

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I’ve written before that dinner at The McNinch House should be on your Charlotte bucket list.

The iconic Fourth Ward Queen Anne-style Victorian home features woodworking by the same artist who designed the woodwork at The Biltmore, has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award for the past 21 years and has hosted presidential guests including William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt.

[Related: Dinner at The McNinch House should be on your Charlotte bucket list]

But what if you want to experience the beautiful, historic home tucked amongst the towering skyscrapers of Uptown and can’t shell out the $95 to $185 per meal? Grab a seat on their porch and order a glass of wine at Wine in the Garden.

On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons throughout the spring and summer, The McNinch House invites guests to come enjoy Wine in the Garden. From 4 to 6 PM, guests can relax on the front porch or at a table in the front garden, and soak in the unique, elegant atmosphere of the home and restaurant.

The porch swing is my preference.

“People want to come here and want to experience [The McNinch House] but not just for dinner,” says The McNinch House’s wine steward, Anthony “Wes” Wesley. “We are a unique place, not a lot of other places in Charlotte have what we have, and we wanted to let our neighbors and [the community] experience it.”

When you arrive, pop inside to let someone know you’re there and then grab a seat on the porch (make a beeline for the porch swing in the back left corner or a table out front near the fountain under the trees). Wine wizard Wes or another member of The McNinch House’s team will greet you and take your order.

Anthony “Wes” Wesley

Order a glass or a bottle of wine from Wes’ carefully curated, award-winning 12-page wine menu: White wines by the glass are $15 and red wines by the glass are $16.

If you’re not sure what to order, just ask Wes.

“I try to take the snobbiness out of wine and want to make wine fun. [My job is to help] people feel relaxed and make people feel at ease when it comes to ordering wine. People shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or intimidated by wine. I like to make wine a conversation and help them try something new.”

His wine recommendations for Charlotte springs and summers? For hot days, Wes recommends rosé, Riesling, Pecorino (the Italian wine, not the cheese), or Chenin Blanc (also known by it’s region, Vouvray) as nice wines to help you cool down. If you’re a red wine drinker, Wes says you can still enjoy reds in the summer, and specifically suggests Pinot Noirs that are slightly chilled (to 55 to 60 degrees) to soften the tannins.

If you’re not a wine drinker (although Wes is determined to find something you like), The McNinch House also has an extensive beer list and a variety of specialty martinis, ranging from $12 to $15, that you can also enjoy from your porch swing perch. Cheese plates featuring local Ashe County cheese will soon be available to purchase on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during Wine in the Garden.

So, start saving for The McNinch House’s fine dining, one-of-a-kind multi-course dinner experience. But in the meantime, on a Tuesday or Wednesday, sneak out of work a little early to sip on some wine on a front porch swing.

The award-winning McNinch House is located at 511 North Church Street and open Tuesday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m.

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Chrissie Nelson Rotko
| @@chrissie_beth
Public defender, food blogger (offtheeatenpathblog.com), football fanatic, lover of craft beer, red wine, cheese, and other delicious things.