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Looking Back, Forging Ahead Q&A: Bella Babbit, NoMad London

Published:  21 August, 2023

Midway through 2023, Harpers is taking stock of yet another turbulent year for the drinks trade, with plenty of highs and lows, so far. We continue our series with Bella Babbit, wine director, NoMad London, to find out how the year as gone so far, and what the remainder may bring.

How has business been for you in the first half of 2023 and how do things compare to where you were last year?

By far the busiest January I’ve ever worked. The previous year, December and January were affected by Covid so it’s hard to compare. Since then we’ve remained pretty steady, but excited to head into the busy festive season.

How has the cost-of-living crisis played out across the year and what – if anything – have you been able to do to mitigate that?

We’ve definitely seen some guests be more price conscious. I’ve tried to ensure that there’s always excellent bottles on the list at a lower price point, which has been a challenge with all of the price increases.

    • Read More: Vacancies fall while prices rise for hospitality

What are you most proud of achieving this year? Have you managed to achieve any specific goals?

We’ve had a lot of exciting things happen this year. We were awarded Wine Spectator's Best Award of Excellence, nominated for both best Austrian and best sparkling list by Star Wine List and I was awarded in the Top 100 Sommeliers by Sommelier Edit. As well as this, we launched an exciting partnership with Djuce in June, making our own canned wine with Foradori. The limited-edition canned wine is available to purchase exclusively in the hotel, as well as on room service. It is believed to be the first canned wine created exclusively for a luxury hotel.

And what is the biggest cause for concern?

Recruitment definitely continues to be a massive challenge, and we know this sentiment is echoed across the hospitality industry.

What are the biggest drinking trends at the moment, and how do you expect that to change going into the autumn?

We’re seeing guests being much more adventurous when it comes to region and grape variety. I believe some of that stems from guests being slightly more price conscious, but as well as that I think people are becoming more and more open to stray from the classics, which I find super exciting!

Is Covid now a distant dream, or are you still seeing lingering effects?

Recruitment is definitely still struggling post Covid. The amount of people moving away from wanting to work in customer service is a massive hit, as well as all of those who left London.

Quick fire questions…

Old World or New?

Old World

Cocktail or slow sippin’ spirit?


Vermentino or Vermouth?


Lo or No?


Three star or bistro?


Best variety/wine style for pairing across multitude of dishes?


Desert island tipple?

Pierre Frick Pinot Gris Maceration