The days of tackling a bible-sized wine list may be over. At Goust, a Michelin-starred restaurant in one of Paris’s more exclusive neighbourhoods, you pick the food and the sommelier does the rest for you. For the nervous of disposition, it sounds like a godsend.

An interesting concept, no doubt, and one that – as the Michelin star demonstrates – has won favour in the City of Lights since Goust opened in early 2013. It is clear that the world of wine is changing; there are new approaches, new customers, new wine regions, even new – or, more accurately, rediscovered – grapes. It’s a movement that will surely change how wine is presented and served in the world’s best hotels.

The man behind Goust, world-renowned sommelier Enrico Bernardo, believes it is time for more hotels to capitalise on a new generation of wine lovers. Be more relaxed, he insists.

"If I was designing a hotel restaurant today, it wouldn’t have a classic gastronomic waiter service," says Bernardo. "It would be more fun; lots of wine by the glass, cocktails and champagne. I’d keep the food very simple and very easy, not sophisticated.

"All hotels over the last ten years have wanted to have a three-Michelin-star restaurant inside, but it’s boring. Second, it’s not financially sensible; the costs are too high. And the guests don’t want more of that – the young people, anyway. If I was a general manager in a hotel tomorrow, I would produce a new concept – a restaurant that was like a party."

Few places have done more to put wine at the centre of a guest’s experience than the Marqués de Riscal in the Rioja wine region, Spain. This Frank Gehry-designed boutique hotel – part of the ‘City of Wine’ complex, which sits at the heart of the vineyard that bears the same name – boasts two sommeliers, two restaurants and a wine bar, among other wine-focused attractions. Wine is central to staying at the 43-room Marqués de Riscal from the moment a guest arrives, explains general manager Alexander Peev.

"The world of wine is changing; there are new approaches, new customers, new wine regions, even new – or, more accurately, rediscovered – grapes."

"From check-in to check-out, you are surrounded by wine," Peev says. "At check-in, we offer a shot that represents three stages of wine. It doesn’t include any alcohol – just juice and jelly made from grapes, then a proper nice red grape. It’s nicely presented as a welcome drink.

"In every room, for each and every guest, there is one bottle of Marqués de Riscal free of charge. In the spa, everything is done with wine. With wine, grapes or the seeds, all the treatments are related to wine. Then there is the wine tour, which is very visual. It is several small things, it is not aggressive. At the end of the day, the guests love wine more when they leave than when they came."

In the right region

At the Marqués de Riscal, guests come to experience a wine region steeped in history and tradition, Peev says. About half of the visitors to the hotel are foreigners, who are attracted by the Rioja region’s reputation. Even the Marqués de Riscal is not immune to what is happening in the rest of the wine world, however. The hotel boasts a 200-strong wine list, of which just eight are made by Marqués de Riscal, which is updated by the hotel’s sommeliers on a regular basis.

"They try to represent each and every important wine region in the world," Peev says. "But we have to bear in mind that the hotel is a business – we have to sell the wine. If the popularity of a certain wine could be interesting, we can incorporate that. We have all the traditional regions – like Bordeaux and Burgundy – and, if there is something really special from a special place, then we add it.

"Still, our main custom is from France, Spain, the UK, the US and Latin America. They’re used to traditional wines, and if they come from abroad, they want to drink Rioja."

It’s a little bit different in Paris, even if the French capital isn’t quite the haven of radical thought it once was. More and more, people are open to discovering new wines, new regions and new grapes, says 37-year-old Bernardo.

"Paris is still pretty traditional," he says. "There are not many trends. The most important regions have first place – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne. But there is a new generation of restaurants that is developing the other regions – the South West, Provence, Corsica, The Loire. They’re especially interested in wines made by small producers; more and more, these places don’t take big brands – it’s more about the price-quality balance. They want something nice and interesting to tell the guest."

Then there is natural wine, a movement that places the emphasis on wines made with as little human interference as possible. Bernardo is far more impressed by the growing desire from some customers to drink wine from outside France and Italy.

"I don’t approve of vin nature," he says. "There are some wine bars that only serve natural wine by the glass, but I don’t really enjoy this wine. I don’t think it will last.

"In the last two or three years, guests are more keen to discover wines from different countries – not just France or Italy. They start to discover Hungary, Portugal, Greece or Austria."

Taste the difference

Interestingly, it appears that the bastion of Anglo-Saxon culture, London, may have something to teach the traditional European wine powerhouses.

"I’m interested in what is happening outside France – in London, Scandinavia, Asia and the US," says Bernardo. "The people there are more inventive, and more creative. In London, you have a lot of places that can inspire a lot of people around the world."

London has recently seen a wave of laid-back, female-friendly wine bars open, like Sager and Wilde in Hackney or 40, Maltby Street in Bermondsey. These places attract a younger crowd, who are more likely to be impressed by a new wine from a little-known producer than by a Grand Cru Bordeaux.

"What is clear is that guests are increasingly interested in anything that puts wine at the centre of their experience."

It’s a trend that hotel operators should not ignore, Bernardo says.

"It is our job to attract new generations, to attract people who are more experimental and don’t always order the same wine," he says. "We need to make wine easy, to invent something every day to attract guests."

A state of vine

If London is helping to lead the way, the influence of a mounting Asian consumer base on Europe’s hospitality scene appears to be growing. Peev says just 3% of guests at Marqués de Riscal come from Asia, but he expects to see that rise in the years to come as increasingly wine-savvy guests travel to Europe to get a taste of its rich wine tradition.

"We’ve had some growth already, but not very significant," he says. "It’s probably because we’re in a traditional region like Rioja, and it is still not very much explored. When Asian visitors come to Spain, they look for the traditional tourists cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Seville; we do see an impact, but not with the significance I would like to see.

"Every guest gets a one-and-a-half-hour wine tour included in their stay, which is free of charge, and in several languages – but still not in Chinese. We hope that in the near future, we will incorporate that."

Another trend, however, appears to be on the up: wine tourism. Peev says the building of the hotel in 2007 has led to a huge increase in visitors to the Marqués de Riscal vineyard.

"We’ve seen a great improvement," he says. "We’ve gone from 6,000 or 7,000 visits a year before the building of the hotel to 60,000, at least, every year."

What is clear is that guests are increasingly interested in anything that puts wine at the centre of their experience. Bernardo owns two restaurants in Paris – the other, Il Vino, offers diners a wine list and builds the food menu around their choices – and says changing the way things are traditionally done can improve the experience for everybody.

"It’s interesting," he says. "At Goust, we see that the pairing works well and the guests are very open to this. They feel very happy; for example, with a couple, they both drink three glasses of wine. This is very good because if you don’t do it like we do, the ladies probably don’t drink or take just one glass. With this kind of service, they have the same quantity of wine, they have a different experience – something they will discuss with the sommelier.

"You have a good atmosphere in the dining room. You can feel that people are curious – they want to have the experience, and, when they leave, they want to remember what they have drunk, more so than in a normal restaurant."

For Peev, it’s important that guests get a taste for wine culture, whatever they choose to drink.

"We try to introduce to our guests the idea that they’re having an experience that is architectural, sensory, but also wine culture," he says. "It’s quite unique. The romance of wine is very important."