Carthage winery offers guests more than a taste of the grape

Jim OHaro prepares a plate in the kitchen of the White Rose Winery.

Christina Faris

Jim O’Haro prepares a plate in the kitchen of the White Rose Winery.

Christina Faris

With Southern hospitality, antique furnishing, ripe-aged wines and true Irish cuisine, the White Rose Winery has guests making reservations.

Owners Jim and Jan O’Haro bought the estate in Oct. 1998, and opened Jan’s dream of a Bed and Breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day, 1999. The couple soon realized how Jim’s talent would benefit the operation.

Jim O’Haro, the vintner for the White Rose, was a scientist for the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

“Wine should be stored in a cool, dry place,” Jim O’Haro said. “62 degrees is ideal for red wine for storage.”

Wine tasting is $5, and each bottle is $26. The O’Haros say wine is served best chilled at 38 degrees and Jim O’Haro said wine should be kept only a few days after it is opened.

Some people think wine can create headaches. “You need a wine with no or low sulfides added,” said Jim O’Haro. “We don’t add sulfides to our wine.”

Jan O’Haro said winemaking must go through stages, if it does not the vintner adds sulfides. This cuts off the fermentation process and purifies the wine. Sugar is added; the wine is bottled and shipped out.

“Our wine is in the barrel for twenty-two months and then put on French oak,” said Jan O’Haro. “Usually sulfite-free wine will cost more money because of all the extra things they have to do with it.”

The O’Haro’s do not store their wine in the kitchen unless it is used for cooking only.

Jan O’Haro, proud of her Irish heritage, prepares meals by the rules. The kitchen is divided into savories and sweets. When a meal is prepared, all the sweets and fruits are on one side of the kitchen, and savories such as meats with onions are kept to the other side. Meals at the White Rose vary from soups and salads to homemade traditional meals.

Bagpipes play to announce meals and a daily teatime at 4 p.m. Breakfast is a three-course meal, served at the formal dining table and serving the proper pot of tea is a necessity at the White Rose.

Only Caitlyn and Rose, no boys! The great-granddaughters of the O’Haros have claimed the White Rose Room as their own and brothers are not allowed. The room is decorated with flowers and lace, and is definitely feminine.

Minus the flowers and lace, the Gambler Room overlooks the vineyard. The Dublin Library suite has a fireplace and a pillow-top mattress with convenient access to the Jacuzzi tub.

“This is everyone’s favorite suite for some reason, it’s a cozy, private area,” said Jan O’Haro climbing to the Vineyard Suite, which holds a custom-made waterbed and has a 300 ft. walkway view to the front of the home.

Jan O’Haro said the brides like to dress in this room with its floor-length oval mirror, then ride to the beginning of the walkway and walk the entire length to show off their gowns.

The lawn seats 300 for a wedding or special occasion and the front porch seats 100. Weddings have memories and with the good, comes the bad.

“We have had a huge dog run across the yard during the middle of a ceremony and had to chase him out,” said Jan O’Haro. “We have lost electricity during weddings, a couple times. A little boy destroyed the chocolate fountain after he dove in headfirst. Oh, and a family forgot the bride’s father in Lamar once. He borrowed a friend’s truck and drove up right before the ceremony started.”

Saturday evenings at the White Rose, a guitarist plays classical jazz music while a special dinner is served. Jan O’Haro said people enjoy coming to the restaurant, hearing good music and eating the fine Irish foods.

Hosting visitors also gives Jan O’Haro a chance to show her artwork. She worked in a museum and taught art; her students have won state competitions.

The home interior is filled with antique furniture. Eastlake Victorian and Chinese styles mingle with Chippendale pieces, kidney-shaped tables and rare furniture pieces. The mohair sofa requires a lot of work, but is well worth it. The handmade Welsh furniture dates itself.

“You kinda have a tour of history when you visit the White Rose now,” said Jan O’Haro.

The home’s previous owner was Henry John, part owner of the Carthage quarry. John built the home in 1900, out of white Carthage marble.

The O’Haros named the estate the White Rose from a poem by John Boyle O’ Reilly which Jim O’Haro read as a child. They thought the home was beautiful, like the poem and white, like the rose, and decided on this name.

The restaurant and winery hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and closed on Wednesday except by appointment. For reservations, please call 417-359-9253 or visit the O’Haros on the Web at