Re-inventing restaurants, re-thinking wine lists

Tuesday 2nd March – 4pm GMT- Online

The pandemic has created huge uncertainty for the restaurant industry. Many that closed in March 2020 will never serve another customer. The ones that will eventually reopen will do so in a deeply-changed cultural, social and economic landscape.

We start to imagine the trends and levers of change that will allow restaurants to re-surface, and decrypt how they will affect the restaurants’ wine list.

Format: We are pleased to welcome the below panellists for a Q&A discussion:

Antoine Abou-Samra – Founder, A Table for Two, Lebanon

After a long and diverse career as an entrepreneur, former athlete, radio host, and 3-time CEO, Antoine decided to go back to what he enjoyed most: Food & Wine and Media. He created A Table For Two a multi-format content creation house. Using the thread of Food & Wine, he not only helps the audience discover and understand other cultures but also engages them in related issues such as the Environment, Climate Change, Sustainability, or Diversity.

Ray Isle – Executive Wine Editor, Food & Wine Magazine, USA

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine magazine. He has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award, has twice won the IACP Award for Narrative Beverage Writing, and his work appears in The Best Food Writing 2017.

For more than 40 years, Food & Wine has defined the American epicurean experience. A recognized authority among consumers and culinary trade, Food & Wine inspires to empower their wine and food obsessed community to discover, create, and devour the best in food, drink, travel and home.

Stephan Leuschner – Director International Key Accounts, Rational, Switzerland

Stephan Leuschner is Rational’s expert for international foodservice industry and ghost kitchen projects. He is an experienced business consultant and former Executive Chef, and works with restaurants all over the world to optimise their kitchens for delivery-only purpose.

Rational is an innovative solutions provider for the restaurant and food industry specialised in cooking systems, leader in the German, British and US-American markets.

Tinashe Nyamudoka – Sommelier and Founder, Kumusha Wines, South Africa

Tinashe Nyamudoka is a sommelier and founder of Kumusha Wines is South Africa. For the past decade Tinashe has been a fixture in South African fine dining establishments, including the One&Only Hotel Cape Town, The Oyster Box Hotel Durban, and The Test Kitchen Cape Town. He serves as an independent wine judge and is a regular from local wine competitions to Mundus Vini in Germany.

Tinashe is also a partner at Somm On Call, an online wine buying platform based in South Africa.

Jon Pepper MW – Managing Director – Tenute Del Mondo, Italy

Jon has run companies in every sector of the wine trade – wineries, distributors and retailers. He is currently Managing Director of Tenute del Mondo, an ultra-premium wine group which owns Achaval Ferrer in Argentina, Propriedad de Arinzano in Spain, and a share of Tenute di Toscana (which includes Ornellaia and Masseto in its portfolio).

Previously, Jon was Chief Operating Officer at Enotria&Coe, one of the UK’s larger supplier to the on-trade.

Laurent Plantier – Co-founder, Alain Ducasse Entreprise and Partner, French Food Capital, France

Laurent co-founded Alain Ducasse Entreprise, and developed the group both in France and internationally. He led the group’s diversification strategy, investing in hospitality (Chateaux et Hotels de collection), edition (Alain Ducasse Edition) and education (Alain Ducasse Education). Under his leadership, the group grew from 0 to 85M€ of revenues in 17 years.

Laurent is now a partner in French Food Capital, an investment fund backing leading companies in the food and non-alcoholic beverages.

and additional voices to be confirmed.

Major Themes to be addressed:

  • Can restaurants re-open with a business as usual attitude? Should we hope for a restaurant re-invention?
  • What are the structural changes that restaurateurs will need to take into account when re-opening?
  • What will the new restaurant experience look like, for staff and clients alike?
  • Deliveries and takeaways: How big a source of revenue will they be in the next few years? What does it mean for beverage margins?
  • “The chef as an ego is now irrelevant; the chef is dead. It has to be.” The same could be said for somms. If the ego era is over, what’s next?
  • What will these transitions mean for the food and wine media?
  • What does all of this mean for Fine Wine?
  • Will restaurants still influence the definition of Fine Wine?
  • How can on-trade distributors and producers alike help in re-thinking wine lists?

A key conversation moderated by Pauline Vicard – Executive Director, Areni Global – and James Tidwell MS – Founder, Texsom and World’s Best Wine List Awards senior judge.


James is a writer, speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He is an expert in many areas of the wine trade and has travelled extensively to many of the world’s wine regions.
Tidwell co-founded the TEXSOM Conference, now in its 15th year, and along with the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.

In 2020, James joined the highly regarded team of the World’s Best Wine List Awards, organised by the World of Fine Wine magazine. Widely considered as the sommelier version of Michelin stars, the World’s Best Wine Lists awards are the most rigorous and prestigious accolades of their kind in the industry. 

The registration for this Insight Series is now closed. You can watch the full recordings of this session here: