Nothing like a good glass of wine to wind down after a hectic day, am I right? Are you a lover of the best grapes have to offer, cozy hangouts and most of all: beautiful projects by kick-ass #girlbosses? (Check, check and CHECK!) Then I have just the thing for you: meet Ona: the girl and the bar :)
There are certain people in life you cannot help but instantly like, gravitate towards. This girl is definitely one of them. I guess it might be a charisma thing. But most likely it’s an Ona thing. A 26 year old lover of life, music and all things yummy, Ona radiates the kind of positive energy that can instantly boost anyone’s mood. Ona according to her friends? Warm, passionate and energetic (tx for the intel Lore Maene ;) <3). Seems about right to me! Fun fact: she also has been playing basketball for over 15 years. A driver on the court as much as in life ;)
Graduated in the field of communications, Ona has always had a soft spot for the hospitality industry. After running a coffee bar for about a year, she tried her hand at a more “classic” office job, with the idea of putting her degree to use. But as much as she liked the people she worked with, she realized this was not her passion.
“I started to think about what I really wanted: what do I like to do, what am I good at? I had all this energy and was looking for a challenge, somewhere to channel it into. It was pretty simple really: what I am most passionate about is enjoying food, wine and the good things life has to offer.” So why not share this passion with the world? And more specifically: our beautiful city of Ghent?
“Granted: Ghent already has a lot of nice places to hang out and enjoy a drink. But I felt like there was still something missing. You either find those really hip “hotspots”, where everything feels almost too well thought out, too spick-and-span, or the classic, more rugged pub. I was missing a cozy middle ground here.”
Moreover, much like yours truly, Ona loves to enjoy a good glass of wine when going out. Sadly, a lot of the places we like to hang out at serve horrible wine. That’s how the first inkling of an idea took root. Ona enrolled in a sommelier course, to gain more insight into this drink she was so passionate about. “The more I learned about it, the more disappointed I was with the offer in a lot of bars. I really felt like there was something there. An opportunity. To offer a good glass of wine at a reasonable price, in a nice environment. I’ve been playing with the idea for over a year, developing the concept so once the right time, the right opportunity, came along, I would be ready to grasp it with both hands.”
And that time is very much now! This weekend, Ona is opening the doors of her very own wine bar ONA, which will be marked with her name as well as her distinctive personal touch. The main goal of ONA is to offer a good, affordable and honest glass of wine to anyone who feels like it. No matter whether you’re a connoisseur or an amateur, ONA invites you to discover and enjoy. “It’s important to me to offer a good range of wines by the glass: I’m starting off with 8 whites and 8 reds. Rather ambitious but I really hope I can keep it up, so people can come and try out different things.”
Sustainability and proximity are a big part of what Ona wants to bring. She chose her assortment very carefully, only selecting sustainable growers from within Europe, preferably from small vineyards. 80% stems from bio production. Wines that each have their own identity, their own story. “I really want to go back to the roots of the product. To quality and the way good wine has been made for ages. There is so much heritage and quality close by, why look any further?”
This concept of proximity also extends to the rest of ONA’s offering. Because yes: even if you’re not into fermented grapes, you’ll be sure to find something to your liking ;) No big brand soft drinks around, even the mineral water originates from as close as the East of Flanders. In the afternoon, you can stop by for a yummy cup of coffee or tea. Or how about some home-made iced tea and lemonade or a glass of 100% chardonnay grapefruit juice? (the second best thing grapes have to offer ;) ) YUM!
Pictures: Yann Bertrand