The Wine Glass: A Wine Lover’s Dream

The Wine Glass: A Wine Lover’s Dream

Euripides famously said: “where there is no wine, there is no love”. And while philosophical quotes will always be up for discussion, I think we can all agree that the ancient dramatist was on to something.

South Africa is famed for many things; natural beauty, wildlife and, of course, wine. The Western Cape is particularly renowned for producing world-class wines, with the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Constantia regions regularly being hailed as some of the best wine producing regions in the world.

However, there is a new player on the block in terms of wine regions: the Walker Bay Wine district – and we’re oh-so excited about the potential of this
beautiful region.

Stretching from Botrivier in the Overberg region, through Hermanus, all the way to Cape Agulhas, the Walker Bay Wine district is home to some of the country’s finest wine estates, producing top class wines in jaw-droppingly beautiful settings.

While Hermanus may be more known for whales than wine, the gorgeous seaside town has become somewhat of a homebase for the Walker Bay wine district. That is why Hermanus’ latest addition to the wine tourism industry will, undoubtedly, be a hit.

Allow us to introduce to you The Wine Glass.

The Wine Glass is a newly opened wine bar and restaurant situated in the heart of the historic Old Harbour area of Hermanus.

The Wine Glass proudly showcases local wines that have been exclusively produced in the Walker Bay wine region.

We recently caught up with one of the founders behind The Wine Glass, Jacques Le Roux, to find out more about this stunning addition to Old Town Hermanus.

“The vine has to grow here and the wine has to be produced here” Jacques says about their so-called ‘criteria’ for the locally produced wines they have on offer at The Wine Glass.

They currently serve an astonishing 96 locally produced wines, as well as 12, locally-produced Méthode Cap Classique options.

Their wines and MCC is sourced form 28 local producers, located in several small towns and seaside villages along the Walker Bay wine district, including Hermanus, Stanford, Kleinrivier and the gorgeous Hemel-en-Aarde Valley just outside of Hermanus, amongst others.

What makes The Wine Glass so unique, is the fact that they serve all 96 wines and 12 MCC offerings by the glass. Naturally, there is also the option to purchase the wine by the bottle (which they sell at cellar door prices and ship worldwide!) but this way, customers can try a bit of everything and truly appreciate the
wonderful wines.

Of wine tastings, Jacques says that they adhere to the ‘formal’ method.

“[Our] wines are arranged in varietal tasting flights consisting of 6 glasses per flight. Flights are ordered according to price (value) bands, (for example The Wine Glass sells 18 Sauvignon Blanc wines from the region) and divided into 3 flights of 6 wines: Lifestyle Flight (entry-level pricing), Savouring Flight (medium, more serious wines) and Premium Flight (top-end wines). The client can decide which wines they would like to try [sic],” he says.

The wine tastings are set up properly and lead by the team of knowledgeable staff at The Wine Glass.

Jacques explains that there are several benefits to this method of ‘horisontal’ wine tasting. For instance, the customer has the opportunity to experiment within a price band to see which wines they like best.

Unlike visiting one particular wine farm, the customer has the opportunity for direct varietal comparison – instead of only comparing one wine estate’s varietals. It also gives them the opportunity to first taste wines from different estates, before deciding on visiting an estate.

In addition, many of the wines on offer at The Wine Glass – especially the more premium wines – are not available to taste at the wine estates themselves.

Also on the menu at The Wine Glass is four, locally produced craft beers which are available on tap or on a tasting paddle, as well as premium gins, Scotch whisky and brandy. They also have a barista on duty to make you a custom cuppa Joe with their house blend coffee, should you need a caffeine kick after the wine tasting.

As for the food, you can expect high quality, seasonal dishes, fresh seafood – including abalone! – as well as tasting plates that are ideal for sharing, cheese and charcuterie platters and fresh oysters.

Sundays in the summer months at The Wine Glass will be perfect for the proverbial ‘soft landings’ as you can expect live music and a bubbly and oyster celebration on their terrace. Their terrace, which is situated in a courtyard, is surrounded by various art galleries, making the experience that much more special.

Jacques and his two partners, Mark Kahts and Brennan Davis, are all Hermanus locals who decided to leave their corporate backgrounds in financial services behind – where they were all shareholders in the same company – and seek investment opportunities in their beautiful hometown.

After deciding to sell their interest in their company, they came to the conclusion that tourism is the most obvious growth and employment opportunity in
South Africa.

“We have the natural beauty on a platter, all we need to do is to unlock the destination by creating the infrastructure and then marketing the heck out of the destination. It really is a low barrier to entry industry (in all aspects including human resources) when compared to tech, industry or mining – where it is very difficult for SA to compete,” he says.

After much research, modelling (naturally drawing from their financial services backgrounds), Jacques and his partners came to the conclusion that Hermanus is the perfect place from which to base the Walker Bay wine district, and thus, The Wine Glass was born.

In addition to The Wine Glass, Jacques also runs Chill Guru – a bus sightseeing service that offers mini round-trips through Hermanus, from the Old Town harbour area where The Wine Glass is situated to the New Harbour.

Each busdriver is equipped with a mic, telling and sharing stories from the region as he drives through the beautiful town.
You can find out more about Chill Guru here.

So, without debating philosophy too much and before we start staring down the bottom of a wine glass, I think we can all agree with Euripides that wine is love – and that love and passion is clear at The Wine Glass.

Whale of a Time: Where to Whale Watch This Season

Whale of a Time: Where to Whale Watch This Season

It’s that time of the year again! The whales have arrived in South Africa, which means that the beautifully quaint town of Hermanus in the Overberg will morph into the whale watching mecca of the world – and we couldn’t be more excited.

Every year around Spring time in the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Right Whales make their way to the waters on South Africa’s coast; mostly culminating in the waters of Walker Bay in Hermanus.

Naturally, whale watching is huge in Hermanus. There are various ways in which to watch these giants of the ocean go about their daily business: land-based whale watching, water-based whale watching or aerial whale watching.

However, we believe that the best way to fully experience the magical aura that these whales exude is by getting as close as possible (without annoying them!) through water-based whale watching.

We’ve put together a list of three wonderful whale watching charter companies that legitimately operate in Walker Bay and who will bring you up close and personal with these majestic mammals.

As we mentioned above, there are several companies that offer excursions in the bay. When booking your trip, make sure that the charter company does have a permit for whale watching.

These companies are issued special permits that allows the operators to get up to 50 meters from the whales, which is pretty close!

Whales are also naturally quite curious, so you’ll find that often when the boat approaches a pod of whales, they will come closer themselves, examining the boat and putting on a dazzling show for the whale watchers!

Generally, on all of these excursions, there will be a whale specialist on board to give running commentary on the whales, their calves, and what their movements for the next few months will be.

Here are some of the whale watching companies that you can contact to arrange a breathtaking whale watching excursion:

Walker Bay Adventures

– The whale watching excursion usually lasts between 2 and 3 hours, depending on how far the whales are.
– The boat is allowed to spend 20 minutes with each pod of whales before moving on.
– The offer daily departures at 9am, 12pm and 3pm in season, and special, early morning (7am) departures between September and November.
– If you would like, you can also by a DVD of your whale watching experience after.

Hermanus Whale Cruises

– This is generally a 2 hour trip, also depending on where the whales are spending their time on that particular day.
– The boat is allowed to spend 20 minutes with each pod of whales before moving on.
– They also offer Whale Cruises. The whale cruise boat can accommodate 87 passengers and operates from June to December.
– Snacks and drinks are served.
– Outside of whale season, between January and May, they also offer eco-trips where passengers can experience interactions with seals and dolphins.
– You can also order a DVD of your whale watching experience after.

Southern Right Charters

– Southern Right Charters offer daily boat trips between June and December.
– Their boat trips last between 1 – 3 hours, depending on how far the whales are.
– The boat is allowed to spend 20 minutes with each pod of whales before moving on.
– The offer excursions at 9am, 12pm and 3pm daily.
– You can also book private charters with them.
– Refreshments are served on the excursion.
– Should you want, you can buy a DVD of your experience after.