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Raffles names wine director for new London hotel

Vincenzo Arnese has been announced as director of wine for Raffles London at The OWO, the luxury hotel group’s first UK outpost. 

Image credit: Food Story Media

Prior to his new appointment, Naples-born Arnese worked as head sommelier of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester for almost two years, and before then spent nearly eight years working at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. He also had a brief stint at three Michelin-starred The Waterside Inn. Furthermore, in 2022 he was named Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year.

In an interview with Wine List Confidential writer Douglas Blyde, Star Wars fan Arnese cited Yoda’s motto of “do or do not, there is no try” as something he lives by.

Raffles London at The OWO (OWO stands for ‘Old War Office’) will open later this summer inside a Grade II-listed Edwardian building in Whitehall. It will have 85 residences, nine restaurants (three of which are from Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco), and three bars.

In his new role, Arnese will be responsible for both developing the wine lists of all the hotel’s bars and restaurants, and training members of staff on wine service.

Arnese is reported to have said of these twin duties: “I hope to curate a selection for our restaurants which will transform the dining experiences of our guests by showcasing a selection of the most exciting and iconic names in the world of wine. Furthermore, I am keen to share my passion and knowledge with the talented team here and am confident that Raffles London will soon become one of the premier wine drinking destinations in the capital.”

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