Divine Wines – the continental cafe in Wincanton

IF your idea of the perfect coffee house is a picturesque building, serving great coffee and cakes, where you can meet friends for a gossip or just sit undisturbed reading a book or the paper – or even watching the world go by, drop into Divine Wines at Wincanton.

It is very much a European model, one which you can find, with different styles of cake to complement the different cuisines, in France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.

Divine Wines pretty much fits that bill. Not only is it an excellent wine merchants, with a range of affordable and exclusive wines for every occasion and every purse, but it is also a delightful little refuge from the rain and a place to relax for coffee, light lunches or tea.

With its fresh flowers, pretty bunting, posters and flyers for local events or organisations and attractively coloured tablecloths – and the genuinely warm welcome from owner Jenny Holt – it looks and feels like the sort of family cafe you find in small French market towns (and then selfishly want to keep to yourself!)

Next week sees a new adventure for Jenny when she hosts Chambers & Co, the first pop-up restaurant at Divine Wines, on Friday 1st November.

With a menu devised and prepared by Mark Chambers, chef of the popular and highly praised Stapleton Arms at Buckhorn Weston, Chambers & Co is offering a three course autumn feast which begins with oils and home-made bread from Declan Farrell, followed by butternut squash and parmesan gnocchi with Sage and Walnut Pesto.

The main course is pan-roasted local partridge with dauphinoise potatoes, curly kale and a rich port gravy. Pudding is plum and almond trifle.

Doors open at 7pm, service begins at 8pm – and booking is essential on 01963 33317 or email divinewineswincanton@nullgmail.com.

Jenny Holt, a Buddhist who worked all over the world as a specialist painter and decorator before she came to Wincanton, has created a continental style cafe where friends gather for a chat, a reviving espresso or cappuccino, warming, hearty, home-made soup or vegetarian savoury or indulgent tea-time half-hour with one of Declan Farrell’s delicious cakes.

She originally opened Divine Wines nine years ago, taking over an existing successful business, added coffee and tables in the front of the shop a few years later, and most recently expanded into the larger back-room where she also holds monthly exhibitions of work by local artists.

On the walls at present are paintings by members of Penselwood Art Club and the November show will feature textile artist Tamsyn G.

Whether you are looking for a bottle of good claret to take to friends, a fine bubbly for a special anniversary present, a dash of Italian flair with melanzana parmigiana for lunch or a cup of coffee and a good gossip with friends, Divine Wines in Wincanton is the place to go.