A stylish new wine and champagne bar brings a taste of the winelands to Stellenbosch’s De Oude Bank. By Leigh Robertson
Over cappuccinos at De Oude Bank Bakkerij, an institution of sorts in the hub of Stellenbosch, regular Rose Jordaan enthuses about the exciting evolution of this burgeoning university town and winelands ‘capital’. Right here in the Oude Bank centre, named after the bank that originally occupied the block, and now renovated and thoughtfully contemporised, there’s much building activity afoot as the bakery-café prepares to move into its expanded premises. Right next door, in what used to be the bank’s student-loans office, Rose and her husband Michael, the owners of boutique wine cellar Bartinney, have just opened the doors of their Bartinney Wine and Champagne Bar.
The idea, explains Rose, was ‘to bring the Bartinney experience into town’. Located on the Helshoogte Pass on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, the cellar might have a relatively new tasting centre, but the bar allows for easier access to the brand while establishing a stylish urban venue where people can simply hang out and enjoy a glass of wine while soaking up the sun on the stoep, or while lounging on comfortable armchairs beside the fireplace come evening.
As with their neighbours – the bakery, a gallery, a crystal-ware store, among others – there’s a distinct sense of craftsmanship about the new space. Rose, a qualified architect, wanted it to reflect the Bartinney ethos of heritage and conservation (the farm is a Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Champion). The most dramatic manifestation of this is the spectacular vine chandelier (made from an old Sauvignon Blanc vine from their vineyards) that appears to have overgrown the ceiling, from which raw bulbs are suspended. ‘The feeling I hoped to create is of being right in the Bartinney terroir,’ says Rose.
All the original woodwork has been kept intact, including the gleaming timber facade, but windows were opened up to create a generous internal/external bar counter, a perfect perch for people- watching with a glass in hand. Rose found the counter that now takes pride of place inside at Cape Town’s OnSite Gallery (it was ‘covered in pigeon poo’ when she first saw it). She likes that ‘everything has a patina and a past’, such as the timber detailing on the wall behind the bar, which is made from the wine-stained staves of barrels used on the farm. ‘Reusing materials was very important,’ she adds.
It’s an engaging setting in which to get acquainted with Bartinney’s exceptional Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, which can be bought by the glass, bottle or case (they’ll deliver it to your home). An impressive line-up of French bubblies adds a touch of glamour, and there’s a hearty offering of snacky fare to nibble – olives, cheese and charcuterie along with fresh crusty loaves, all sourced from local producers. With the launch of a walking wine route in Stellenbosch imminent, the Bartinney wine bar has certainly secured itself a place on the map.
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