Eleven Madison Park’s Gabriel di Bella: “The most important rule is to slow down and listen”

(Star Wine List) There are many ingredients that go into making the Eleven Madison Park hospitality recipe, from generating emotions to ensuring guests feel as if they are at the best dinner party ever. The Make It Nice group’s flagship restaurant has picked up a slew of accolades and awards over the years including three Michelin stars, being voted the World’s Best Restaurant by 50 Best in 2017.

And, its wine programme is just as exceptional as chef Daniel Humm’s food. At Star Wine List’s New York 2024 awards, the beverages team took home three gold star gongs: the Best Long List and California Wine List top spots as well as the coveted Grand Prix for the best wine list overall.

On June 24, Eleven Madison Park faces winners from around the world in the International Final of Star Wine List of the Year in Stockholm.

“We often say that knowledge doesn’t sell wine because it’s about the story and people behind a specific wine and what they’re trying to do with the winery,” says wine director Gabriel Di Bella of the beverage programme he leads.

The French-born transplant, who was born into a family of restaurateurs and studied at Tain-l’Hermitage wine school in the Rhône, leads a 10-strong team whose diverse backgrounds contribute to guests’ experiences.

“There are a lot of different perspectives and people from different backgrounds, so we always try to bring the emotional factor into play, more so than technicalities or knowledge,” he says.

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