Openwine: Cape Town’s first food-pairing wine shop

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Tucked away on the Mother City’s Wale Street is a cosy little spot that’s made for wine lovers. Openwine, which had its soft opening last week, is a new wine-store concept that invites patrons to indulge in a tasting of local wines paired with Italian fare, and even buy bottles of what they like to take home afterwards.

Owners Raphael Paterniti and Marta Gobbo moved from Italy in August 2015 in search of the perfect spot for this concept. When Isola closed, the duo jumped at the chance to transform the space into a welcoming locale amidst the busy city bowl streets.

A photo posted by @openwine_za on

The space is divided into three sections: There’s a bar area for those looking to do speedy tastings and enjoy a few nibbles, a comfortable lounge area where you can enjoy a more leisurely plate of food paired with wine, and the cellar area where you can enjoy a tasting hosted by local wine makers, buy bottles to take home, or linger longer over a meal at one of the tables.

Wines on offer include Iona, Bouchard Finlayson, Raats, Tokara and Anthonij Rupert, to name a few. Openwine also offers a tasting of local beers, gin and even olive oil from South African producers.

A photo posted by @openwine_za on

As for the food, the daily chalkboard menu boasts four pairing options. There’s a bubbly-lover option with the likes of creamy bacalhau and fine potato soup; easy-drinking white wine with parmigiana aubergines; a connoisseur selection with yellowtail and soft polenta; and, finally, a full-bodied red or white with lamb gnocchi. You can also opt for all four courses served in smaller portions and paired with tasters of each wine.

Openwine also offers guests a fun play on corkage with their ‘foodage’ policy. For a small fee, wine lovers can bring along their own snacks and food to enjoy. “Just as long as it’s not fast food!” quips Raphael.

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The team is still busy with final touches, but is ready to welcome Capetonians for a glass of vino. We might see you there for after-work drinks one evening….

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