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Looking ahead: Elise Mérigaud, La Dame de Pic

Published:  21 July, 2022

With the first half of 2022 already history, Harpers asked key trade figures to highlight the current challenges, ongoing trends and opportunities.

We continue our series with insights from Elise Mérigaud, one of our Top 25 Somms, and head sommelier at La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square.

How ‘back to normal’ are you as a business?

I think we have been fully booked for most of our opening days, so it looks like we’re back to normal.

How, if at all, have drinking habits changed post-lockdown?

I think people are willing to spend more on drinks and want to drink more quality wines/cocktails.

How has the first half of 2022 been when compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019?

January is always a bit of a tricky month with lower business. However, we were in good form by the end of January and have had good activity overall until now. Plus, Valentines, Mother’s Day and other events have helped attract guests.

What were the highs and lows for your own business in the first six months of 2022?

High: introducing a non-alcoholic pairing as part of our experience that has become popular.

Low: people aren’t drinking as much over the past couple of months.

What, currently, are the biggest challenges for the trade in general?

Staffing. Between the impact of the pandemic – which affected how our industry was seen –and Brexit, which doesn’t allow young people to travel to the UK, it’s become a very big challenge to find skilled people who want to work with us.

What are your priorities and predictions business-wise for the second half of 2022?

Do more research on our non-alcoholic pairing and introduce more teas and infusions.

We also want to work on team training. We are facing a sweltering summertime, which I fear will pull people away from certain drinks. I have better hopes for September when we will get the return of the business crowd.

What will the focus be on with regard to your portfolio, and why?

Burgundy, Champagne. This is what people are drinking the most in the restaurant, from top Cuvées and top producers. This is what people are asking for. But, at the same time, it’s also very hard to get in!

For you, what are the most significant emerging trends in the wine & spirits worlds?

Tequila and mezcal have become very trendy lately. Also, a lot more people are asking questions about organic and biodynamics. There is a move among consumers to become more self-conscious about their drinking consumption.

What innovations in the drinks world do you believe will have the most impact going forward?

Non-alcoholic, distilled drinks, as well as non-alcoholic wine with a bit of quality.

Lastly, if you could make one change in legislation/red tape/tax tomorrow, what would you choose?

To ease UE taxation. It’s been a nightmare getting wines from Europe with all the paperwork producers have to face.

Quick-fire questions:

France, Spain or Italy?


USA, OZ or South Africa?


Cocktails or slow sipping spirit?


English fizz or Champagne?


Go-to drink to watch with the tennis / football / rugby?

Crafted beers