This exciting wine bar, aptly named The Wine Glass, has added a real touch of class to the centre of Hermanus Old Town since opening in August last year. Fronting onto Harbour Road, the premises are chic and spacious, stretching all the way to The Courtyard at the rear.
Surrounded by art galleries, eateries and bars, The Wine Glass is conveniently situated in the artistic hub of Hermanus – and what better place to host the FynArts Festival’s Wine Plus series of tutored tastings from 13 –16 June. There will be a morning and afternoon session at 11:00 and 15:00 on each of the first three days and a morning session on the fourth day. Festival-goers can purchase tickets for individual sessions, or either book for all four morning sessions or all three afternoon sessions.
The Wine Glass is the brainchild of financial experts Brennan Davis, Jacques le Roux and Mark Kahts, who partnered to bring Hermanus a stylish but welcoming venue which has proven wildly popular among locals and visitors alike. “We want wine tasting to be a relaxed affair that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Brennan told me shortly after they opened last year. “Guests should feel free to hang out at The Wine Glass, whether alone, with friends or for business meetings, to enjoy a tasting, a meal, or simply a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.”
They certainly have achieved that – and more. With approximately 100 wines from the Walker Bay wine district, their criteria is simple: the wines they offer have to be produced locally with grapes from local vineyards, including Bot River, Hemel-en-Aarde, Stanford, Elim and Agulhas.
And with a delightful menu of innovative small plates and platters prepared from top-quality local ingredients, you won’t go hungry either. From tapas plates such as boquerones (marinated white anchovy fillets served with toasted garlic ciabatta); dates stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in streaky bacon; or giant green Spanish olives with Grana Padano cheese and a bread stick; to soups, chef’s plates and desserts, you’ll find a multitude of ways to complement your wine tasting experience.
The seasonal chef’s plates are delicious morsels (two plates make up a main course) that are ideal for sharing among friends. Among my favourites are the firecracker duck; the Parma ham, pear and Gorgonzola salad; Cape Malay spring rolls; steak-frites and patatas bravas. Seafood enthusiasts are also spoilt for choice, with fresh West Coast oysters (a platter of six, served with three sauces on the side); panko-crusted hake marinated in a salsa verde; pan-seared Norwegian salmon; perlemoen arancini, prawns panfried in a miso and date butter, and crayfish thermidor.
Recently added to the menu are three winter soups – roasted tomato and basil, zucchini and Gorgonzola, and that old classic, French onion soup – and a selection of winter plates that include forest mushroom linguine, a fragrant Moroccan lamb tagine, a spicy Cape lamb curry and a hearty, slow-cooked oxtail casserole.
Although the food already sets them apart, what makes The Wine Glass different from your average wine bar, is the fact that you can order any of their wines by the glass. This means that you can start with a glass of MCC, followed by a glass of white wine and then a red. There has never been an easier, or more enjoyable way to get a real taste of our region.
For those who are interested mainly in exploring the fruits of our local wineries, The Wine Glass offers tastings comprising six wines per flight. These are arranged not just according to the varietal, but also price range. For example, the 18 Sauvignon blanc wines on offer are divided into three flights of six wines each, with the first flight comprising wines in the easy-quaffing price range; the second will be medium priced, more serious wines; and the third flight will be your top-end, more pricey wines.
These ‘horizontal’ tastings afford wine enthusiasts the opportunity to taste different wines within a certain price range, making it a lot easier to compare and decide on your favourites. Once you’ve decided which you like best, you can purchase a bottle (or several) at cellar door prices to take home with you – or to be shipped to an overseas destination.
And while the award-winning wines and bubblies of the Walker Bay and Agulhas wine districts take centre stage, The Wine Glass also offers a range of craft beers from our region, as well as artisanal coffees that can be enjoyed with a freshly-baked croissant or a slice of decadent cake.
Apart from the not-to-be-missed Wine Plus series hosted at The Wine Glass from Thursday to Sunday, a good time to visit The Wine Glass is on Fridays when they run their ‘Wine Down Fridays’ special between 16:00 and 18:00 – buy any glass of lifestyle wine, bubbly, beer or Oude Molen VSOP with a tapas dish of dates and bacon, and get the second one free. Or look out for their exciting ‘Grape Expectations’ programme, where you’ll get to meet the person responsible for crafting your favourite wines, hear their back story and philosophy, and taste the fruit of their labour, along with scrumptious dishes from The Wine Glass kitchen.
The two events on the Grape Expectations programme are ‘Easy Wednesdays’ from 18:30 – 21:00, a relaxed and informal introduction to some of the region’s wine producers that entails welcoming drinks and canapé’s, a talk and tasting presented by the winemaker, followed by two courses with wine and dessert canapés; and ‘Sumptuous Saturdays’ from 18:30 until late, which entails a more formal tasting of top-end wines and a talk by the winemaker, followed by three courses with wine plus dessert. The next events will take place on Saturday 29 June (Crystallum Wines) and Wednesday 3 July (Gabriëlskloof Wines).
You’ll find The Wine Glass at 2 Harbour Road. Contact 082 082 0007 or visit www.thewineglass.guru