Trend talk: engaging curiosity in guests through lesser known wine varieties
Atlantis Dubai’s resort Beverage Manager, Anand Nanjan is backed by years of experience in luxury establishments in the UAE. Now at the helm of one of Dubai’s most iconic hotel’s F&B teams, Anand shares insight on the wine industry and looks at current and upcoming trends.
“Atlantis sees on average around 1.5 – 1.7 million bottles of wine sold every year – 200,000 bottles of which are sold out of Bread Street Kitchen.”
Having worked in the high-end F&B sector for 15+ years specialising in beverage, Anand Nanjan has had firsthand experience with some of the world’s finest wines while working in some of the most luxurious properties – Burj Al Arab included.
Now the Resort Beverage Manager at Atlantis Dubai, Anand plays a significant role in the operations over 26 F&B outlets and is witness to consumption behaviours every day. On average, the resort welcomes six million guests every year across its rooms, restaurants and water park facilities.
Due to such an influx, Atlantis sees on average around 1.5 – 1.7 million bottles of wine sold every year – 200,000 bottles of which are sold out of Bread Street Kitchen.
To gain insight on current wine trends and customer demands, we went one-on-one with the beverage expert to learn more. Here is what Anand shared with us:
Tell us a little bit about your experience at a sommelier and places you’ve worked.
I’ve been in the industry for the last 15 years. After I did my training, my whole career has been based in Dubai. I moved to Dubai in 2005 and started my career with One&Only Royal Mirage as a commi waiter where my passion with wines really began. From here I climbed the ladder, learning and training in the field, working at renowned locations including Burj Al Arab as assistant sommelier, Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah’s three resorts, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi at Emirates Palace, and Sofitel The Palm. I then joined Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai one year ago and love it here, it’d an iconic hotel and a big F&B hub.
Burj Al Arab was one of the best places for me to learn about wine, as I had the pleasure of dealing with and trying world leading wines on a daily basis – I really learnt a lot here.
Can you describe the wine offering at Atlantis? Do you have specific wine offers at different outlets?
Yes, Atlantis has an extremely generous F&B offering with almost 26 outlets. Across the resort, we offer 650 – 700 labels of wine. Hakkadan and Seafire have both won Wine Spectator Awards for their selections. Seafire stocks 350 labels, which is our biggest label selection on-resort, followed by Ossiano.
Every outlet boasts its own selection of wines according to its cuisine and offering. Not only are the wine selections variable in our outlets, but we also cater to guests’ needs by offering a range of measurements for serving, such as 75ml, 150ml, 250ml or 500ml, which is great for customers that don’t want to order a whole bottle. For 75ml we do particularly for fine wines for guests who would like to sample different varieties. It’s important to offer these different measurements to cater to what guests are looking for, and also increase your sales.
Talk us through the quantity of guests and nationalities that visit Atlantis on an annual basis. Are many wine lovers?
British, Russian, Chinese and Indians are all core demographics here. We get a great mix at the resort, and it’s more of a family crowd because of our facilities. We attract plenty of wine lovers, predominantly in Ossiano, Hakkasan, Nobu and Seafire restaurants.
As a sommelier, can you describe the wine consumption trends of your customers at Atlantis: do you sell mostly bottles or wine by the glass?
It’s a mix of both, but mostly we sell bottles – it depends on the restaurant.
Do you feel clients tend to order more wine by the glass than a few years ago?
Yes, they order more wine by the glass now than in the past because of the preservation systems we have now. There is now more opportunity to try fine wines by the glass because of these systems, so it makes it more affordable than buying a bottle. By introducing fine wines by the glass and half glass, it has dramatically increased our sales of fine wines as more people are open to trying them as they no longer need to purchase a bottle.
What are the most exclusive bottles you stock?
We stock all French first world wines, which are the key, most top-selling wines. We also have all the most popular bottles from key wine countries such as France, Italy, America and Australia. Some of our premium bottles include Château Pétrus, Château Cheval Blanc, and Château Margaux, to name a few. Seafire is home to our oldest vintage wine, a 1959 from Lebanon.
How do you attract new sales of wines at Atlantis?
We take great interest in new wines that are produced with funky labels to use according to an outlet’s direction. As well as pushing lesser known varieties to bring out curiousity in our guests. We try to create new trends by introducing new varieties in our outlets instead of opting to sell the same bottles as other venues.
What trends are you witnessing at the moment?
Malbec is the greatest trend at the moment – we are seeing increased sales of this variety. Prosecco is also still very high in demand, as is rose. Sauvignon Blanc is still our best-selling white wine, followed by Pinot Grigio.
Pricing of Champagne has gone down slightly over the last couple of years, due to the rise in popularity of the more accessibly priced prosecco.
Looking at future trends, I expect guests in the Middle East will continue looking for value for money. I also expect to see a shift from more commercial wines to new boutique wines as millennials are ready to try new things. Globally, people are being more careful with money so they want to spend it wisely, meaning value for money will always be key.
As a restaurant serving wine, what are the benefits of being able to serve by the glass using EuroCave’s Wine Bar?
It’s one of the most sommelier-friendly pieces of equipment inside a restaurant. Having a EuroCave Wine Bar makes a big difference with safety and temperature control, as does its storage management. Inside, it’s compact and stores a lot of bottles in such a small space. The Wine Bar has also massively impacted our wastage by allowing us to only use what we need, while keeping the remaining wine fresh.
For more information about Bread Street Kitchen, call +971 4 426 2626 or visit atlantis.com/dubai/restaurants/gordon-ramsay-bread-street-kitchen