Opinion: Wine in Abu Dhabi and a job vacancy!

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Drinks: Wines
Location: England, Europe

Progress! Most of the wines for the Hakkasan Emirates Palace opening list are chosen, and I’m just waiting for prices from the importers. Abu Dhabi has a 50% import tax on alcohol, so the prices will probably come as a shock.  

The big difference from buying wines here is that I have to order for the first 3 months. Of course we’ve got forecasts, but it’s impossible to really know what will sell best. You can probably make a good guess at what you’ll be selling come June, but I’m trying to do it for a restaurant that isn’t even open yet, in an unfamiliar market. We are so lucky here in the UK: most suppliers deliver the next day, and ordering enough for the weekend is as difficult as it gets!  

The UK is also lucky to have open-minded customers who will experiment with unfamiliar wines. Everyone says that Abu Dhabi is a less sophisticated market, and not to list anything unusual. Fair point, but at Hakkasan the priority has always been wine that works well with our menu – wherever it comes from. All I need now is to find a sommelier who is up for the challenge. If you are interested, let me know on [email protected]

About Author

Christine Parkinson

Christine Parkinson started her career in the kitchen, and moved into management after 3 years as Head Chef. Responsibility for 39 restaurants eventually convinced her to follow her passion and concentrate on wine. In 2001 Christine created the first wine list for Hakkasan, and later became Wine Buyer for the group, which includes the Michelin-starred restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha, with operations in London, Miami and (soon) Abu Dhabi. She has been called “one of the most creative wine buyers in the UK” by wine guru Jancis Robinson, and recently received the ‘Taste On-Trade Influencer Award, in association with Imbibe’. When not on the phone to suppliers, she is often out on a motorbike, and is therefore probably responsible for most of the UK’s bad weather.

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