From her role as Head of Wine at Hakkasan, Diana Rollan has moved across to D&D London, the group behind some of the capital’s most celebrated restaurants such as Quaglino’s, Le Pont de la Tour, Chelsea’s famous Bluebird and city favourite, Coq d’Argent. Imbibe grabbed a few minutes of her time to find out what the new role is like.
What is your typical day like at D&D HQ?
Quite busy, I like to get in early to our headquarters to catch up with the rest of the purchasing team and to check emails in case there are any important matters to follow up from the restaurants. After that the day is packed with visits to the sites, meeting different members of the group – mostly with the bar managers and sommeliers – to understand their needs, meetings with suppliers and attending tastings.
What does your new role encompass?
As the beverage group category manager I focus predominantly on the purchasing of core beverage categories for the existing D&D group of restaurants in the UK, while managing and leading product innovation and quality across the group.
What did getting the job with D&D mean for you?
This is a great opportunity and I’m very excited, with over 30 landmark restaurants and a boutique hotel, I feel privileged to be able to bring my expertise and on-trade insights to my new role at D&D.
Are you looking to change any of the wine offerings across the group or in individual venues?
I’m currently assessing the status of our beverages category across the group. Quality is a key objective and the focus is to review the range and evaluate whether some changes need to happen. In some aspects a fresher approach should be taken and I’m intending to explore new alternatives in order to discover new products to improve our current selection. So yes, I would like to see some changes but most of all I want to help the team to provide the best beverage selection across the UK.
What styles of wine do you want to push for the summer?
Summer is the season for chilled wines. When I think of summer wines, I think that our selection should be refreshing; from bubbly English sparkling wines, to refreshing light white wines like Albarino, to fruity and vibrant dry rose wines from Provence, to light bodied reds, served chilled like Gamay or new world Pinot Noir.
What are the biggest challenges in your new role?
I think one of the biggest challenges for me this year will be having an in depth understanding of the operations across the group, to be able to bring the right product at the best price and at same time maximising quality.
What are your personal favourite styles / varieties of wine?
Personally I love sherry wine in all its versions. There is always a bottle of sherry in my fridge. Bubbles overall and champagne in particular is another style I love. If I have to choose a grape variety it would be Semillon for white, for its potential and uniqueness, and Pinot Noir for red, for its complexity and finesse.
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