TOP CHAMPAGNES POURED AT 35,000 FEET – – 2011 Wines on the Wing awards

Twenty-eight international airlines submitted over one hundred and thirty-six wines from their current international business-class, international first-class and North American wine lists. Thirty-one professional judges tasted, tested and rated them. The results of the 2011 Global Traveler “Wines on the Wing” are now in.

Each wine was judged on a modified Davis 20-point scale. The judges’ individual scores for each wine were added and averaged, and the averaged scores of an airline’s submissions were totalled. The airlines with the highest total score won the Wines on the Wing awards.


This was the year for 1999 – V Australia won the International Business contest with Lanson Gold Label Brut 1999, which the judges called rich, complex, delicious and flavorsome. “We carefully select our Champagne and all our wines with an independent wine panel that meets four times a year,” said Alison Chalmer, General Manager, product, for Virgin Australia group. “In building our wine list, the aim is to enhance our restaurant-style in-flight dining experience.” In considering the best Champagne for the airline, the panel goes so far as to measure the persistence and spiral time of the bubbles, among other tests.

In the International First Class Champagne contest, Asiana Airlines came in first with Comtes de Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 1999, earning such judgments as “elegant with balanced acidity” and “both delicate citrus and toasty notes.”


1. Lanson Gold Label Brut 1999 — V Australia
2. Jacquart Brut Mosaïque, NV — Lufthansa
3. Piper-Heidsieck Brut Red Label, NV — Air New Zealand
4. TIE De Venoge Blanc de Blancs 2002 — Asiana Airlines
5. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut 1998
— Qatar Airways


1. Comtes de Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 1999
— Asiana Airlines
2. Cuvée Allegra Jacquart 2004 — Lufthansa
3. Drappier Grande Sendrée Brut 2004 — TAM
4. Bollinger La Grande Année Brut 2000 — Etihad Airways
5. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut, NV — American Airlines

How much do such winning wines cost an airline? While not many are willing to reveal, a few of the top-scoring airlines indulged us. Asiana spends approximately $2 million for 140,000 bottles for both business and first class. Etihad spends a total of about $6 million each year for its wines in all classes. OpenSkies would say only that “Wines are a priority spending area for us.” And EL AL’s answer was “A lot.”


Air Canada
Air New Zealand
American Airlines
American Airlines – North America
Asiana Airlines
Delta Air Lines
EL AL Israel Airlines
Etihad Airways
Iberia Airlines
Jet Airways
LAN Airlines
Qatar Airways
South African Airways
TAP Air Portugal
US Airways
US Airways – North America
V Australia
Virgin America – North America

Do You Live in London? Do You Love Champagne? Then You Will Love This Champagne Club UK Card

Champagne continues to be the “drink of choice” for many Londoners and the popularity of it is reflected in both consumption figures and also the extensive variety of Champagne available at restaurants and bars.

The Champagne Club UK offers members and their guests “A Glass Of House Champagne On The House” when dining at any of the London restaurants listed their website. You have a choice of over 100 London restaurants from Brassieres to Michelin-Starred!

The membership is a 12-month plan which also allows a maximum of 7 guests to enjoy “A Glass Of House Champagne On The House” prior to lunch or dinner.

Membership is currently priced at £60.00 and delivery of the card is fast and efficient. It comes beautifully gift wrap to further enhance that special feeling associated with Champagne.

“We’ve always loved Champagne in the UK, now residents and visitors to London can benefit from our favourite-loved drink at every meal simply by presenting a membership card and saying cheers! The Champagne Club UK will be rolling out to other cities extending the reach of members’ cards even further” Says founder Patricia Madden.

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

THE HALKIN LONDON CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY THIS SEPTEMBER – Events include: Art Publisher Assouline’s pop-up ‘Culture Lounge’, Afternoon Tea with creations by Pierre Hermé Paris, 20th Anniversary Packages, Launch of 20th Anniversary Suites, and more

Throughout the month of September The Halkin will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with a unique series of events to underline the ‘Home Away From Home’ theme that has characterised this intimate London hotel in exclusive Belgravia.

Art publisher ASSOULINE will be creating an immersive pop-up ‘Culture Lounge’ which takes over the hotel bar to showcase its iconic coffee-table books for guests and others to browse in this library-style environment.

“We are a publishing house obsessive about luxury,” says Prosper Assouline, the company’s founder: “This is our first London pop-up Culture Lounge and it is significant that we have chosen to work with a hotel that helped set a benchmark of luxury for the capital”-

Watch for the series of literary events

The Halkin is launching an exclusive new “Afternoon Tea Menu” which features creations by Pierre Hermé Paris. Pierre Hermé recently opened his first London “Macarons & Chocolats” boutique on neighboring Lowndes Street. The tea will run through to the end of October.

Pierre Hermé has been described by French Vogue as the ‘Picasso of Pastry’

New 20th anniversary packages will offer guests the chance as ‘Families’, ‘Shoppers’ and ‘Gastronomes’ to enjoy the best that London has to offer while combining those experiences with one-night stays.

The Family Package’ includes chocolate painting, dipping or chocolate bar making at Rococo Chocolates or a four-course dessert bar meal at the new William Curly Bar on Ebury Street.

The Gastronomy Package’ includes dinner at nahm, Halkin’s award-winning Thai restaurant.

The Shoppers Package’ and MY favourite! a bespoke perfume consultation with Les Senteurs, a ‘His & Hers’ experience including private appointments at De Vroomen jewellers and TomTom Cigars, and a ‘Belgravia Sybarite’ three-hour private shopping tour.

These 20th Anniversary packages allow guests to experience first-hand why Belgravia is such an important neighbourhood while showcasing British heritage brands and contemporary luxury London.

The Halkin will officially open the doors on three new 20th Anniversary Suites in September: two ‘Como Suites’ and one ‘Belgravia Suite’ on the second and third floors. These suites have been renovated to the highest standard, and will include large spacious balconies overlooking the hotel gardens.

The Halkin, Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DJ
Tel: +44 20 7333 1000
Facebook: COMO Hotels and Resorts
Twitter: COMOHotels

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

WIN dinner for 20 at Michelin-starred ‘nahm’ restaurant Halkin Hotel London

The Halkin has launched a series of celebratory events to commemorate its 20th Anniversary which focuses on cuisine, Champagne, culture, and design throughout the month of September.

First in the series of events, The Halkin has teamed up with Louis Roederer Champagne to create an exclusive ‘Halkin at Twenty’ celebration dinner. One lucky Halkin guest can expect to win a gourmet experience with 20 of their friends at London’s acclaimed Thai restaurant ‘nahm’. The dinner includes a menu created by Head Chef Matthew Albert, a selection of fine wines and Champagnes by Louis Roederer Champagne along with a Master of Wine (MW) to guide you through the menu and wine pairings.

About nahm
nahm is the first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Europe, and is for serious gourmands who value originality and tantalizing cuisine. The venue is decidedly modern and chic.

To become eligible, make your hotel reservation online between July 20th and August 20th. The lucky winner will be drawn on The Halkin’s anniversary on Tuesday 20th September 2011.

Tel +44 (0)20 7333 1059

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

‘Champagne – Happy Birthday!!’ [August 4, 1693: Dom Pérignon ‘Drinks the Stars’]

August 4 is said to be the day Dom Pérignon invented Champagne back in 1693. In fact this bubbly trivia stirs up quite a bit of discussion regarding the fact that naturally occurring bubbles were seen as a problem at the time to whether or not his famous quote of ‘drinking with the stars’ is fictional or factual – No matter really.

What stands out the most is that Champagne has almost an omnipresence in our culture!

Liz Palmer