Meet the Sommelier: Luca Gagliardi
Director of F&B at Capital Club Dubai, Luca Gagliardi has held the role of Sommelier throughout most of his career. Specialising in beverage and working with wines on a daily basis, Luca shares with us his observations on the industry.
“The biggest trend at the moment is the natural wine movement, together with organic wines and biodynamic wines”
Nestled in Dubai’s booking financial district, Capital Club Dubai is a business members only club that focuses on bringing professionals together under one roof. Home to varied F&B concepts, the venue is multi-story and prides itself on offering only the finest dining experiences throughout the day, as well as hosting business and social events for its members.
At Capital Club, guests will find a large selection of wines, mostly Aperitif-style wines that are very well suited for after work drinks. The outlet’s finest collection is undoubtedly French, with many of its varieties being from the Bordeaux and Champagne regions.
In a one-to-one with Luca, we sat down to learn more about the professional and listen to his views of the current wine industry and its trends. Here’s what he shared with us.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Capital Club…
I came to Dubai over 18 years ago with the Gordon Ramsay team at Verre by Gordon Ramsay as Assistant Manager & Head sommelier. All my life I’ve worked mostly in Michelin starred restaurants. I moved on to work for Santi Santamaria, a 3-star Michelin chef from Barcelona in 2009, who overlooked the team at the Atlantis for the Ossiano restaurant.
During my last 10 years in Dubai, I’ve worked at and helped to create new concepts in the city including the lounge of Roberto’s, the speakeasy bar R Trader, Bistronomia Solo at Raffles, Roof Top Bar at Iris, and the sustainable concept at Pierchic. In December 2020, I joined the Capital Club team in DIFC to revitalise all F&B concepts across four floors of the club.
Tell us about your guests: who are they, where they are predominantly from, and are they mostly lovers of wine?
Our guests are mostly international business people, from young entrepreneurs to self-made gentleman. Their nationalities are mixed, mostly European but also large groups of Asians and Arabic. These are people who have spend their life surrounded by great food, so they tend to have a fine palate for food and beverage, so it is a pleasure to work for them as they are always in search of new discoveries when it comes to dining. Most of them are wine lovers, who appreciate a glass together with cigars, fine cognac and whiskeys.
What types of wine are most popular with your guests and why?
Our guests prefer lots of fresh, crisp wines such as sauvignon blanc, rieslings and Champagne, as most of them visit us for aperitifs from 6pm till 8pm. Usually our members are businessman whose days begin early in the morning, so fresh wines post-work are the best options here.
On average, how many bottles do you sell at Capital Club on a monthly basis?
As business member club during the day we don’t sell many wines, but during the social events our consumption drastically goes up, mostly during activities like our wine society or spirits master classes.
As a beverage professional, can you describe any current trends in wine consumption that you’re noticing at the restaurant?
Surely the biggest trend with double digit increase is the natural wine movement, together with the organic wines and the biodynamic wines. Dubai unfortunately is miles away from this trend due to the price structure of our taxes, but there are bunch of Dubai-based sommeliers, like me, devoted to trying to change that and ready to list these types of wines.
What do you predict as the next biggest trends in wine for this year and beyond?
I think in Dubai – and much like the rest of the world, the beverage industry is down because of the pandemic. In light of this, demand for entry level to medium range wines and spirits has spiked and become more popular because they’re most cost-effective for customers.
Prosecco, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio wines are still selling very well, and I don’t think there will be something new coming in the market this year.