In 1998 Sir Peter Michael opened the doors to the Vineyard. He was determined to bring the booming London dining scene to the Berkshire countryside, an hour away from the capital.
Delicious food was just one aspect of Sir Peter’s vision. Wine was to be at the heart of the venture, not only in the extensive cellar but also with the wine team, who were to be approachable and knowledgeable. Every member of the staff, no matter which department, takes a wine course.
Set amidst an extraordinary art collection, the Vineyard’s mantra of “Eat. Sleep. And drink wine.” has certainly achieved the family’s intention of being a place for people to gather over the dining table, with a world of wine to explore.
However, last March, the hotel and restaurant were required to close. Determined for the staff and guests to return to a safe environment, the Vineyard reopened less than two months later on the fourth of July, greeting guests with a glass of Californian bubbles.
As with circumstance worldwide, the team and family took creative opportunities to reimagine the dining experience with InsideOut, a name that reflects the transition of the grand indoor dining room to a new outdoor pavilion. With a freshly conceived menu and wine list, the restaurant offers guests an elevated food-and-wine experience while dining al fresco.
As restaurants work to establish new concepts, the community of sommeliers is working equally hard to provide hospitality and wine service befitting the evolving menus and dining experiences. The hotel’s advanced sommelier, Romain Bourger, shares some insights into the London dining scene, as well as how the hotel embraced change and an update on the local sommelier community.