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Getting to know: Diana Rollan, Group Head of Beverage at D&D London

Diana Rollan is D&D London’s go-to lady for everything drinks wise. As Group Head of Beverage, her role focus’s on choosing which drinks go into which restaurants, as well as managing and leading product innovation and a quality-focused approach to the drinks lists at D&D London’s 40 restaurants and hotel.

Where did you begin your career in beverage?

I’m originally from Spain, I started in Madrid, at Lavinia Wine Shop, before I moved to London in 2007, where I began my journey as a sommelier, this was a chance for me to expand my career and knowledge into a more international level, for that reason I took all the WSET qualifications and moved up ranks until I ended up as  Wine Buyer.

What other experience do you have in wine and drinks?

Prior to D&D London, I worked for 10 years at Hakkasan Group where I developed my role from sommelier to Wine Buyer , and spending the last couple of years as UK Head of Wine, where I managed all aspects of wine and sake buying for the company, as well as been in charge of the Wine and Sake training side for the group in UK. .

What qualifications do you have in wine and beverage?

In 2014 I gained the WSET Diploma and became a WSET Certified Educator in Wine, Spirits and Sake up to Level 3. I’m also Certified Sommelier by Court Master Sommeliers and Kikisake Shi Master of Sake.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

The pushing of boundaries, the challenge of innovating constantly and the opportunity to constantly learn and evolve my knowledge. Working in a big team with many multiple personalities and characters is also fascinating and the fact that I can learn something new everyday is simple amazing.

What advice would you give to someone wanted to start out in wine?

Go for it! However I need to clarify that a career on wine doesn’t come without sacrifice, as long hours of studying are required but wine is a pretty fascinating world, so if you have passion and curiosity on the matter, pursuit it!

Do you have a favourite type of wine/beverage?

Personally I love sherry wine in all its versions. There is always a bottle of sherry in my fridge. Bubbles overall and champagne in particular is another style I love. If I have to choose a grape variety it would be Semillon for white, for its potential and uniqueness, and Pinot Noir for red, for its complexity and finesse.

What’s the best vineyards you have visited?

I recently visited South Africa and I must admit, it highly surprised me. Creation Winery in particular are situated high up the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge near Hermanus, their vineyards are located on the steep hills of Babylon Tore Mountain, a truly extraordinary natural paradise!

Can you share any tips on underrated or up and coming wines?

The classics are always appreciated and cherished. At the same time, I love bringing wines from areas not as often seen in the broader market, which offer a sense of discovery — not just about the wines, but also about the people, place, time, and culture from which they originate.  I would like to bring more South African wines into our menus but also some more local English wines, in particular we are working on a new project for an exclusive English White wine with a very unique style, so watch this space!

Follow Diana on Twitter: @dianarollan and Instagram: @diana_in_wine