Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Strolls

by

Beautiful Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina, is a wonderful place to visit any time. But when you can enjoy a glass of wine while strolling through the gardens at night, well, now you have the recipe for a perfect evening!

On October Thursdays, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Strolls, a special after-hours event, is on the agenda. From 5 until 8 pm, wine in hand, you can stroll through the gardens and enjoy a cool autumn evening along the scenic Ashley River.

A view of the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens house across the lawn, seen through the moss-covered trees.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens viewed across the lawn through the moss-covered trees

Wine Walks in the Garden

A hand holding up a stemless signature glass at the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Stroll with the view of the Ashley River at sunset in the background.
Enjoying the Wine Stroll along the Ashley River walking path

Wine lovers especially will like this event, which features delicious selections of wines from different areas each week. I attended the first weekly event on October 6 and enjoyed a selection of red and white wines from Spain and Portugal.

The $60 fee for the Wine Stroll includes evening garden entry, a custom Magnolia Plantation and Gardens wine glass, and a large serving of charcuterie from Nosh Boards Charleston, a woman-owned catering company.

The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Strolls also give visitors a rare opportunity to experience sundown in the garden. The gardens’ standard daily closing time is 5 pm, so the wine stroll opens up that beautiful river walk view at sunset. And, even better, as garden visitors go home, the wildlife at Magnolia begins to come out to enjoy the pleasant evening, a welcome respite from the sun.

Insider Tip:  Go to the Plantation house after the Conservatory. Enjoy your charcuterie tray before you continue strolling through the gardens. There was a dessert that I didn’t get because I spent too much time enjoying the gardens and was late for dinner! *sigh* Don’t let that happen to you!

The most recognizable icon of Magnolia Plantation is the 1841 Long White Bridge, with its lovely white criss-crossed sides, and triple-arched base.
Magnolia Plantation’s Long White Bridge c. 1841

Wine Stroll Wine Offerings

Some of the fantastic wines sampled during Magnolia Gardens’ Wine Stroll came from Spain, and others from Portugal wineries. The wine tasting in the gardens included one California bottle that slipped in somehow!

Greeter in Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Conservatory, holding out a stemless Magnolia Plantation signature glass of champagne.
Greeted with a Magnolia Plantation signature glass of champagne in The Conservatory at the beginning of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Strolls

A Garden employee greeted us at the entrance of the Conservatory with a smile and a glass filled with Tempus III Cava Brut, a sparkling California wine. It was crisp, citrusy, dry, and delightfully fizzy.

Taste treats that followed were wines from Care, a winery in Cariñena, Aragón, Spain. Wine samples included Blanco, Tinto, Garnacha, and Garnacha Blanca.

Wines from Portugal included QSS Vinho Verde, which was light, fresh, and fruity, with a slightly sweet taste. One of my favorite wines of the night turned out to be Arruda dos Vinhos Vineyard’s Arreio Douro Red Blend (surprising, I know—imagine me liking a red blend *yum*!) Arreio is a fruity blackberry blend of Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon. Arreio has a pleasant aftertaste and is perfect with meats, cured cheeses, and pasta dishes.

Upcoming weekly wine walks will feature Italian wines, a selection of west coast wines, and wines from France. The path of the stroll through the garden varies each week so that you can enjoy different areas of the gardens. I see another drive to Charleston in my future!

Live Music on the Veranda

End your Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Strolls back at the Historic Plantation House. Savor your last wines on the veranda while enjoying live music accompanied by the sounds of Southern nights:  crickets, frogs, and the soft coo of Mourning Doves.

When I visited last week I was treated to music by Fernando Troche, a gifted classical guitarist from Uruguay. He is a Cum Laude graduate of the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, not to mention he has been a top-prize winner at the Southern Guitar Competition.

Guitar music by Fernando Troche on Magnolia Plantation and Gardens’ Veranda.

Each week different performers from Charleston Entertainment provide live music for your enjoyment. Selections from the area’s southern musical roots, from genres such as small blue grass groups, saxophone, and even cello, may be the evening’s diversion.

America’s Oldest Public Garden

The oldest public garden in America was started in the 17th century and opened to the public in 1870. Travel + Leisure Magazine named the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens “America’s Most Beautiful Garden.” It is the United States’ last large-scale Romantic Garden and one of the loveliest gardens you will ever visit.

View across Schoolhouse Pond of weathered tree trunk, a white statue, and a turtle. Red flower blooms in foreground. everything reflects in the still water.
Beautiful view across Schoolhouse Pond–can you spot the turtle sunning?

Romantic Gardens are laid out much like rooms, designed to take the visitor on a stroll, viewing surprises at every turn. Formality dissolves into an emotional connection with the landscape, where natural water views, hardscapes, greenery, and blossoms feed the soul. Varieties of flowers, from camellias to azaleas, to countless other species, provide year-round blooms.

Audubon Swamp Garden

Not open at night, the Audubon Swamp Garden is an add-on to the daytime plantation pass. The Swamp gives tourists and locals a peek at the Lowcountry Swamp, where massive cypress and tupelo trees grow in blackwater, and wild creatures scurry away from prying eyes. The path winds through the Swamp, which is made accessible by boardwalks and bridges.

Tiptoe through the Swamp, and you will see alligators and turtles sunning on ramps in the pond. During spring and summer months, egrets and herons nest in this rookery. The occasional snake slithers away from footfalls, and toads croak their disapproval before silently slipping below the water’s surface.

When You Go

Register for Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wine Strolls online in advance of the events, then there is a quick check-in at the Tropical Conservatory to begin the garden party. The Conservatory holds a fantastic array of orchids and tropical flora—plus, the Champagnes are served inside! Walk through the Conservatory to soak in the beauty, and then wander outside to the deck overlooking the picturesque bridge over Schoolhouse Pond.

The gift shop is in the plantation house’s cellar. It contains many unique items for your home or for, well, gifts! So do your Christmas shopping early and find hidden treasures to surprise your family. Oh, and did I mention you can buy some of the wines you just tasted on the wine walk? You have a new wine glass, so take something home to pour into it!

Small arched white bridge tucked in a corner near the Ashley River walkway
Small arched bridge tucked in a corner of the garden, near the Ashley River walkway

If you’re a visitor to the area (or not!), spend the day. If you have several days, check out the amazing things to do in Charleston, South Carolina. Tour the plantation house and the grounds, the preserved former slave cabins, and the Audubon Swamp.Then enjoy the gardens as dusk covers the grounds. Can you think of a better plan? I can’t.

Future Wine Events

I am already looking forward to Magnolias’ Wine & Chocolate walk. That event takes place in February—yes, February is brisk but not miserable in the South—plus, Happy

Birthday to me! I’m a February sweetheart! Let’s just call it my Birthday party!

Arguably, the most beautiful time of the year in Charleston is Springtime, when flowers bloom on every plant and tree limb. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has another month of annual wine strolls on the calendar when the South bursts forth in bloom. You know I’m ready for that—Have Glass, Will Travel—that’s me!

Picturesque green bridge over Schoolhouse Pond, reflecting in the water, surrounded by greenery.
Bridge over Schoolhouse Pond at The Conservatory.

12 Comments

  1. Jeanine

    A great way to enjoy a garden, and a beautiful garden it is… Wine and Chocolate mmmm sad I will be across the world…

    Reply
    • Jo Clark

      Jeanine – too bad you’ll miss my birthday Chocolate & Wine! Maybe another time!

      Reply
      • Jeanine

        Definitely another time and good to know to put it in the future travel plan folder

        Reply
        • Jo Clark

          Yes, indeed! Check Magnolia’s calendar and plan ahead!

          Reply
  2. Janire

    Wow what a beautiful place to enjoy a stroll and some wine!! Sounds like the perfect day to me!!

    Reply
    • Jo Clark

      It’s my idea of a perfect day too, Janire!

      Reply
  3. Arlene + Andrew

    Hi, Jo! Thank you for the mention! This was such a lovely, sensory, and informative read. You really took me through the gardens — a place I love so much yet don’t visit often enough..!

    Reply
    • Jo Clark

      I’m delighted you enjoyed the article! I certainly enjoyed the music. I’ll have to come back when Andrew is performing.

      Reply
  4. Linda Jane

    This sounds like a lovely way to spend an evening, strolling through the garden, tasting wine & enjoying live music…perfect!

    Reply
    • Jo Clark

      I agree – it is certainly MY idea of a perfect evening!

      Reply
  5. Geeves

    Charcuterie, wine and beautiful views! What could be better? Thank you for sharing Jo! I will be sure to check out this experience when I’m in Charleston.

    Reply
    • Jo Clark

      It makes for a perfect day!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

RSS
Follow by Email
Pinterest
Instagram