Maxime Poukhnoi, managing director at Cellar Concept, tells Hotel & Catering News Middle East about the growing business and its clients in the UAE and region.
Tell us a bit more about Cellar Concept and your journey with the brand. What type of products do you offer for beverages and cigars?
I established Cellar Concept nearly three years ago. We’re the exclusive distributor of EuroCave products in the Gulf Countries, based in Dubai.
EuroCave is a French company which launched the first air-conditioned cabinet for storing wine in 1975. It was an immediate success and was quickly exported around the world through a strong collaboration with a network of sommeliers, working in best restaurants globally.
The products that Cellar Concept distributes to restaurants, hotels and private consumer customers in the GCC are designed to store, preserve and serve both wine and cigars in perfected conditions.
We’re quite unique in what we offer. All grape enthusiasts understand the hard work and efforts that go into creating the beverage, and EuroCave’s mission is to look after the final product, making sure the producer’s intentions are respected throughout the maturation, until achieving optimal serving conditions. EuroCave is the last chain in this field, which requires an in-depth knowledge of the product.
Who are some of your biggest clients in the UAE; what projects have you worked on for them?
Our customers are passionate professionals who select the best solutions for their guests. EuroCave is part of many upcoming hotel and restaurant projects in the region, and we’ve worked with many leading brands on installations in the past, including iconic properties such as Burj Al Arab, and Atlantis The Palm, as well as leading restaurants such as Coya Dubai, and Hōseki at Bulgari Resort, to name a few.
We collaborate with leading hoteliers, hospitality consultants, kitchen equipment companies, contractors, designers and visionary owners. Our region attracts incredible talent and projects, it’s really inspiring to take a small part in it.
What are some of the latest trends in the field?
Over the last few years, we have witnessed the positioning of cabinets and cellars move from hidden rooms, to being on full display in restaurants – now fully incorporated in the design.
EuroCave keeps on innovating and adapting to these trends. We have very elegant solutions that can be integrated into any kind of restaurant design, respecting product storage and service criteria at the same time.
There are five essential criteria for wines to be stored correctly: air quality, protection from vibrations, uniform temperature, suitable humidity level and protection from UV rays. Some of our most recent solutions, such as ShowCave, Inspiration and Royale represent the very best in display and wine storage.
How do you ensure that your product stands out from the crowd?
Completely mastering the above criteria is an essential requirement for EuroCave; it has dedicated the last 40 years entirely to researching and developing durable solutions, allowing optimal wine maturing. Scientifically, this has translated into many patents being filed and partnerships with top research laboratories.
How do you see demand at the moment and what are your predictions for upcoming market trends?
The EuroCave ‘wine by the glass’ systems such as the VV8.0 and the Wine Bar 8.0 (both with an eight-bottle capacity) and the Wine Bar 2.0 (two-bottle capacity) are in high demand, and I predict it will grow even more.
Customers realise that these systems represent strong added value to their operations. It drastically reduces the wastage by offering long preservation as well as strong control.
From a guests’ perspective, it offers the guaranty that the wine that they order by the glass is as good as if the bottle has just been uncorked. The restaurant can increase the quality of the grape by the glass offering, as well as the variety.
The other main advantages of using these cabinets is that they allow restaurants to serve by the glass at the perfect serving temperature and offer a better experience with food parings. These units also display the products beautifully, which allows conversation engagement with the customer.
What are some of your key cost-saving tips when it comes to beverage storage?
Wine is beautiful but fragile product; if not stored correctly, it can lose all its value. An establishment could potentially lose out on profit if correct storage is not used. Storage is key.