With a stellar wine list, each hand-picked by Sommelier William Mules and Owner Celeste Glass, The Second Glass, has quickly garnered a reputation as having one of the best, if not the best, wine list in Wilmington, NC. It takes careful planning and a vast amount of knowledge to balance a wine list so that every bottle chosen has a reason for making the cut and pairs with the food menu crafted by Executive Chef Ryan O'Janpa. We caught up with Mules & Glass for a quick Q&A to find out how the Second Glass wine list comes together.
Cape Fear Living Staff
Tell us about your backgrounds and how The Second Glass came about?
William: My first exposure to wine was in high school. I went to high school in Kuwait, as my father was a military advisor. Alcohol was illegal for everyone, so generally the expat community just made their own. My friends and I would make beer and wine out of 5 gallon gas cans for our parties. Our parents couldn’t really say too much to us as they weren’t supposed to be doing it either. Needless to say, I had a lot of terrible wine over there. I moved back to the US in 2007 and had a bottle of 2005 La Sirena Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, and that changed my mind on wine.
Celeste: I worked for a wine distributor before opening my 1st wine bar in 2010. The Second Glass is my second place and is located on 2nd Street in the South Front District. The Second Glass takes the wine bar concept and infuses it with a restaurant. I like to say we are a wine focused restaurant.
How do you go about compiling the wine menu?
William: As far as the wine list goes, I try to bring balance to the list, old world & new world. As far as making the cut for the list, I look for balance and elegance.
Celeste: Each wine needs to be special. If William and I don't have that moment...like an "herbal essence" moment, then the wine doesn't make the list. We try to represent all regions, varietals and price points to ensure that each customer finds a wine that works for them.
What is the role of the sommelier at The Second Glass?
William: The traditional role of a sommelier is to be intimate with the food, wine list and how they go together.
Celeste: Willam and I guide our guests through our extensive wine list to find the perfect wine for their dining experience. William has worked with me for 12 years and we work together to create a thoughtful wine & food experience that is unique in Wilmington, NC.
Is there a wine region you favor at the moment?
William: As of right now, I have been on a northern Italian kick for reds. As for whites, I've been really blown away by the White Burgs in terms of quality. Unfortunately the price has gone up a lot recently.
Celeste: We have both been loving Italian reds from the Piedmont and Tuscany regions. And, like William mentioned, French whites from Burgundy and Loire Valley.
Do you each have a wine preference?
William: I pick my wine based on my mood. However, I generally go for a lighter/medium body red and fuller body white.
Celeste: It depends on the season and what I am eating. I am an acid freak. So, I love fresh, zippy whites and well-balanced reds.
What wine is popular in the restaurant right now?
William: White Pinot Noir has been popular with the intense heat this summer.
Celeste: Our weekly wine flights have been extremely popular. On Wednesdays and Thursdays we offer a special, buy a flight & get a bite for free. Each week we have a different theme. It might be a focus on one varietal, one region or one producer.
Do you have any North Carolina Wines on the menu?
William: We do have some NC wines on the list, right now we have the Shelton Vineyards Chardonnay out of Yadkin Valley as well as the Biltmore Blanc de Blanc.
2 menu items and pair them with 2 wines?
William: We pair almost all of our food menu with our wine by the glass program.
Rack of Lamb with scarlett runner beans, greens, salt & vingear gaufrettes, and mint sauce we would pair with the Numanthia Termes Tempranillo from the Toro region in Spain.
Vegan Cashew Cheese Toast we would pair with Domaine Salvard Cheverny from France.
Celeste: Chef, William and I are involved in every aspect of pairing the wine with the food.
Your desert Island wine is..?
William: That’s a really hard question… I was fortunate enough to taste a 1996 Salon Les Mesnil Blanc de Blanc (had 20 years on the bottle) and I think I would be always be in the mood to drink that on a deserted island.
Celeste: Always Champagne for me.