The 2018 Cellars in the Sky Awards

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2018 Awards, which recognize the best business and first-class wines served by airlines worldwide for 2018, were presented on Monday, February 18 at The Langham, London, by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

Qantas was the evening’s biggest winner, taking the coveted Gold Medal for Best Overall Cellar, as well as the top spots in the Best First-Class White, Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Cathay Pacific), Best First-Class Cellar, Best-Presented First-Class Wine List, and Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine categories.

Cathay Pacific won two Gold Medals for Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Qantas) and Best Business Class Red, while Malaysia Airlines took the top spot in the Best First-Class Red category, ANA won the award for Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, and Qatar Airways took the top spot in the Best Business Class Sparkling category.
Oneworld was named Best Airline Alliance, while one of its member carriers British Airways took the Gold Medal for Best Business Class Cellar.

And a special note to US low-cost carrier Jetblue, which won a Gold Medal in the Cellars in the Sky competition for the first time, taking the top spot in the Best Business Class White category.

Business Traveller contacted airlines in summer 2018, and 33 entered.
Blind tastings of 240 bottles took place at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, in December, with the four judges independently scoring the wines over the course of two days.

Participating airlines were: Aegean, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Aircalin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Italy, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Iberia, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Jet Blue, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, and Virgin Atlantic.

LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES

FIRST CLASS
BEST FIRST-CLASS RED

• Gold Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune 2015, Burgundy, France

• Silver Medal: American Airlines – Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2016, Sonoma County, US

• Bronze Medal (joint): ANA – Château Léoville Barton 2012, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France; Qatar Airways – Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2009, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France

BEST FIRST-CLASS WHITE

• Gold Medal: Qantas – Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A Chardonnay 2015, Adelaide Hills, Australia

• Silver Medal: Qantas – Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2016, Margaret River, Australia

• Bronze Medal (joint): Cathay Dragon – Lamblin and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes, 2016, France; Malaysia Airlines – Palliser Estate Chardonnay 2016, Martinborough, New Zealand

BEST FIRST-CLASS SPARKLING

• Gold Medal (joint): Air France, Cathay Pacific, Qantas –Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006, Franc

• Silver Medal (joint): ANA, Qatar Airways – Champagne Krug 2004, France; Singapore Airlines – Dom Pérignon 2006, Champagne, France

• Bronze Medal: Oman Air –Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, Brut, 2009, France

BEST FIRST-CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT WINE

• Gold Medal: ANA – Barbeito Madeira Malvasia 20 year old, Portugal

• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific – Warre’s Otima Single Year Tawny Colheita Port 2006, Portugal

• Bronze Medal: Qantas – Morris of Rutherglen Wines Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, Australia

BEST-PRESENTED FIRST-CLASS WINE LIST

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Highly Commended: ANA

BEST FIRST-CLASS CELLAR

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: ANA
• Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific

BUSINESS CLASS
BEST BUSINESS CLASS RED

• Gold Medal: Cathay Pacific – Elderton Shiraz 2015, Barossa Valley, Australia

• Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

• Bronze Medal: Air Italy – Olianas Perdixi 2016, Gergei, Sardinia, Italy

BEST BUSINESS CLASS WHITE

• Gold Medal: Jetblue – Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2015, California, US

• Silver Medal: Aer Lingus – De Bortoli La Bohème Act One Riesling, 2016, Yarra Valley, Australia

• Bronze Medal: Oman Air – Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Montagu 2016, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS SPARKLING

• Gold Medal: Qatar Airways – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2006, France

• Silver Medal: EVA Air – Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2007, Champagne, France

• Bronze Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2007, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS FORTIFIED/ DESSERT WINE

• Gold Medal: Qantas – Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Classic Muscat, Victoria, Australia

• Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2016, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

• Bronze Medal (joint): Oman Air – Château Guiraud 1er Grand Cru Classé
en 1855, 2014, Sauternes-Barsac, France; Aeroflot – Grahams 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, NV, Porto Duro, Portugal

BEST BUSINESS CLASS CELLAR

• Gold Medal: British Airways
• Silver Medal: Qatar Airways
• Bronze Medal: Jetblue

BEST-PRESENTED BUSINESS CLASS WINE LIST

• Gold Medal: EVA Air

OVERALL AWARDS
BEST AIRLINE ALLIANCE

• Oneworld

BEST OVERALL CELLAR

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific
• Bronze Medal: ANA, Qatar Airways
• Highly Commended: American Airlines

Which Airline has the Best Wine? The Results.

Global Traveler, the only AAM-audited magazine for business and luxury travelers, has released their results of its 12th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Competition.

The competition, held May 10, took place at INNSIDE New York Nomad. I was one of the judges who participated in the blind tasting of airlines’ white, red and sparkling wines. Before the tasting, I cleared my mind of bad experiences of on-board wines tasted at 30,000 – 40,000. The other judges hailed from the industry, including sommeliers, wine shop owners and winemakers.

The Process:

Airlines are required to submit five different wines — two red wines, two white wines and one sparkling wine/Champagne — to be eligible for the Best Overall International Business Class Wines on the Wing award or the Best Overall International First Class Wines on the Wing. This year, the overall winner in both categories was Singapore Airlines.

The Results:

In the white wine category, Best International Business Class White Wine was Paulo Laureano Reserva 2014, Alentejo, Portugal, submitted by TAP Portugal. For first class, the winner was Emirates with François Villard Condrieu de Poncins 2014.

The best business-class Champagne was Singapore Airlines’ Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV. The best first-class Champagne was a tie between British Airways’ Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée, NV; and Singapore Airlines’ Dom Pérignon 2006.

When it came to red wine, American Airlines reigned supreme in the business-class and first-class category with Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella 2012, Italy, and Domaine de la Présidente, Cairanna 2013, Côtes du Rhône, France, respectively.

For the eighth consecutive year, Global Traveler awarded the Best North American Wines on the Wing. North American airlines submitted first-class and business-class wine samples, depending on their domestic flight offerings.

American Airlines swept the North American category, taking Best North American Wines on the Wing, and the awards for white, red and sparkling wines.

For the sixth year, Global Traveler awarded the Best Alliance Wines on the Wing. The participating airlines were divided by their airline alliance. The overall points for each airline were tallied and averaged to determine the alliance with the highest total. Congratulations to Star Alliance.

Competition director Eunice Fried spent months preparing for the blind tasting. Fried, an accomplished wine journalist and respected wine expert, resides in New York City.

Global Traveler is the only U.S.-based publication to conduct such a survey in the United States.

The top airlines in each category are:

BEST INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS WINES ON THE WING

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Brussels Airlines
  5. Emirates

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS WINES ON THE WING

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. American Airlines
  4. British Airways
  5. Emirates

 

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. Emirates
  4. Aer Lingus
  5. All Nippon Airways

 

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. British Airways/Singapore Airlines (TIE)
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. American Airlines

 

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. TAP Portugal
  2. Fiji Airways
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Delta Air Lines
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. Emirates
  2. American Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. British Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. American Airlines
  2. TAP Portugal
  3. Brussels Airlines
  4. Air Canada
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. American Airlines
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. British Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

 

Champagne is served…. A List of Champagnes Served in First + Business Class

first class champagneIf your 2015 travel plans include flights in First Class or Business Class on the following carriers, be sure to ask for that pre-departure flute of these fine pours:

Air France – Serves Taittinger in First Class and Champagne Deutz Brut Classic NV in Business Class

Aer Lingus – serves Jean Pernet Tradition Brut Champagne in Business Class

American Airlines – Champagne Demilly de Baere Carte d’Or Brut is found in First Class International and Gosset Brut is found in Business International 

British Airways – First Class passengers sip Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle, Henriot Vintage Brut 2007, and Balfour Brut Rose. Club World passengers receive pours of Taittinger Brut Reserve

Cathay Pacific – Those upfront get to taste Krug Grand Cuvée and Business Class pours Billecart-Salmon Brut

Delta – Jacquart Brut Mosaïque is served up in Business Elite cabin

Emirates – First Class passengers sip Dom Pérignon and Business Class passengers are poured Moët & Chandon

Eva Air – This Taiwanese airline serves up Dom Pérignon to its Royal Laurel or Business Class passengers

Hainan Airlines – This Chinese airline won awards with their G.H. Mumm Brut NV poured in both First Class and Business Class

Japan Airlines – Serves 2002 Salon in First Class

KLM – Serves Heidsieck & Co Monopole Blue Top

LAN – Premium Business enjoys LAN edition Louis Roederer Brut Premier, and occasionally Henriot Brut Reims

Lufthansa – Krug is served in First Class

Qantas – First Class serves up Taittinger Comtes De Champagne Blanc De Blancs and Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill, while Business Class to sip Billecart-Salmon Brut or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

Singapore Airlines – First Class has the option of two labels: Dom Pérignon and Krug Grande Cuvée. Business Class enjoys Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve or Bollinger

Swiss – Serves Duval-Leroy Brut NV in Business Class

United – First Class passengers are served Castelnau Blanc de Blancs and Business First can sip Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve

 

Note: Varies by route or destination

Results of the 9th Annual Wines On The Wing Airline Wine Competition

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Global Traveler, a premier luxury business and travel magazine, has released the results of its ninth annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Competition.

The competition was held in the spring at The Westin, New York Grand Central – I participated, along with twenty-four judges in a blind tasting of Business Class and First Class Wines; here are the final results, along with the judge’s bios and a link The Global Traveler article.

TOP FIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. British Airways
2. All Nippon Airlines
3. Jet Airways
4. China Airlines
5. American Airlines

TOP FIVE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. Brussels Airlines
2. All Nippon Airlines
3. Delta Air Lines
4. United
5. TAM

TOP FIVE CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. G.H. Mumm Brut, NV – Hainan Airlines
2. Pol Roger Extra Cuvée de Réserve 2000 – China Airlines
3. Laurent-Perrier Grande Siècle, NV – British Airways
4. Castelnau Blanc de Blancs 1999 – United
5. Drappier Grande Sendrée 2005 – TAM

TOP FIVE CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Laurent-Perrier Brut, NV – Brussels Airlines
2. Montaudon Réserve Première Brut, NV – All Nippon Airways
3. G.H. Mumm Brut, NV – Hainan Airlines
4. Tie — Jacquart Brut Mosaïque, NV – Delta Air Lines and
Jacquart Brut Mosaïque, NV – Etihad Airways
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve, NV – United
5. Billecart-Salmon Brut, NV – Jet Airways

TOP FIVE WHITE WINES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Louis Jadot Puligny- Montrachet 2010, France – Jet Airways
2. Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 2009, Grand Cru, France – Jet Airways
3. Henri Darnat Meursault Clos du Domaine 2010, France – American Airlines
4. August Kesseler Riesling 2008, Germany – All Nippon Airways
5. A. Schmitt Riesling 2009, Germany – China Airlines

TOP FIVE WHITE WINES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Albert Bichot Saint- Véran 2011, France – All Nippon Airways
2. Ridgeback Sauvignon Blanc 2012, South Africa – South African Airways
3. Joseph Drouhin Saint- Véran 2011, France – Delta Air Lines
4. Dreissigacker Silvaner & Chardonnay 2012, Germany – airberlin
5. Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay 2011, California – United

TOP FIVE RED WINES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Torres Sangre de Toro 2011, Spain – Hainan Airlines
2. Château Larrivet-Haut Brion 2005, France – British Airways
3. Château Malescot Saint- Exupéry 2008, France – All Nippon Airways
4. Tie — Château Langoa- Barton 1997, France – China Airlines and
Aquamarine Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Israel – EL AL Israel Airlines
5. Wairau Hills Pinot Noir 2011, New Zealand – Etihad Airways

TOP FIVE RED WINES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Torres Sangre de Toro 2011, Spain – Hainan Airlines
2. Abadia Retuerta 2009, Spain – TAM
3. Zuccardi Zeta 2008, Argentina – LAN
4. Barón Ladrón de Guevara 2010, Spain – Air Berlin
5. Château Laroque 2003, France – Etihad Airways

TOP NORTH AMERICAN FIRST CLASS/BUSINESS CLASS
TOP NORTH AMERICAN WINES ON THE WING
Delta Air Lines

TOP NORTH AMERICAN SPARKLING WINE
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, NV, California – American Airlines

TOP NORTH AMERICAN WHITE WINE
Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 2011, California – Delta Air Lines

TOP NORTH AMERICAN RED WINE
Fantesca Estate & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, California – Virgin America

TOP AIRLINE ALLIANCE
SkyTeam
Represented by China Airlines and Delta Air Lines

JUDGES’ BIOS

Colman Andrews is the editorial director of TheDailyMeal.com. He was the co-founder of Saveur Magazine and, earlier, the wine columnist for Los Angeles Magazine. He is the winner of eight James Beard awards including one for Best Writing on Wine and Spirits.

Manos Angelakis is the senior wine and food writer for Luxury Web Magazine and the author of the semi-monthly Oenophile Blog. As a writer, critic and experienced judge, he travels extensively throughout the world’s wine regions.

Cesar Baeza is an enologist, consultant and educator for the wine industry. A native of Chile, he studied winemaking there and in France, Spain and California and worked in many wineries. For 20 years, he was wine master and coowner of Brotherhood Winery, New York State.

Philip di Belardino is director of fine wine development at Banfi Vintners and Excelsior Wines, a frequent wine lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and the Culinary Institute of America, and a speaker at wine dinners. He has been in the wine business since 1973.

Lisa Donneson is proprietor of Bouké and Bouquet wines, produced on Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and a member of the Institute of Wines & Spirits and Long Island Wine Council.

Carl Etcheverry is the sommelier at the Union League of Philadelphia, where he also hosts private wine functions in its Cellar 62. Before 2010, he was manager of a 26,000-bottle wine cellar at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and sommelier at its 5-star Lautrec restaurant.

John Fanning is partner and general manager of SD26, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan. He has been general manager and/or wine director at Accademia di Vino, Il Trulli, Beppe, Felidia, Coco Pazzo, Le Madri and Palio in New York; and at Bramante and San Michelle in Rome.

Fred Ferretti is a wine and food writer whose articles appear in many national publications, and the Asian food authority for Food Arts magazine. Formerly a New York Times reporter, he was also a columnist for Gourmet magazine.

Xavier Flouret is the founder and CEO of Cognac One, a wine importing company based in New York. He is the creator of the Xavier Flouret label, a worldwide selection of wines, and importer of Champagne Lenoble, Château de Malengin and Cave de Tain, among other wines.

David Frieser is president of Beekman Liquors, Inc., a 56-year-old wine shop in Manhattan, and a frequent wine lecturer for clients. He has been professionally involved in wine for 30 years.
Curtis Green is president and founder of TenFolks Enterprises, a wine education and marketing company created to broaden interest in wine among African Americans through tastings, seminars and other events.

David Gross works with Sherbrooke Cellars, a wholesaler of small, highquality family-owned wineries. He has been in the wine trade for more than 20 years as a restaurant wine specialist with Southern Wine & Spirits and, earlier, as a caterer.

Harriet Lembeck is president of the Wine and Spirits Program where, for 30 years, she has taught consumers and wine trade personnel. She is the author of the sixth and seventh editions of Grossman’s Guide to Wine, Beers and Spirits and writes for Beverage Dynamics magazine.

Gilles Martin is the winemaker and director of operations at Sparkling Pointe winery on New York’s Long Island. French-born, he studied winemaking at Montpelier and worked at Roederer Estate and Delas Frères.

John McClement is wine and spirits director of All Weather Management, a restaurant group that includes Keens Chop House, NoHo Star, Temple Bar and Elephant & Castle in New York; Eccolo in California; and Elephant & Castle in Ireland.

Katherine Moore is general manager of Union Square Wine & Spirits, a large retail shop in Manhattan.

Elizabeth Palmer is a wine writer based in Toronto, Canada. Her articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, China Wine News and other publications. She is currently writing three books about Champagne. One, The Woman’s Guide to Champagne, launches this fall.

Fred Price is New York metro sales manager for Maximum Wine Co., an importer/distributor specializing in family-owned artisanal estates. Previously, he was senior vice president at Noble House Wines. He has also been a sommelier and wine director in several restaurants.

Arno Schmidt has been the executive chef at New York’s The Waldorf Astoria, The Plaza and other famous hotels, where he organized numerous wine and food events. A native of Austria, he has worked in hospitality since 1946.

Robert Shack is owner of HB Wine Merchants/R.Shack Selections and of Clos Robert Winery in Sonoma, Calif. Earlier, he was vice president and manager of the Premiere Wine Merchants Division of Rémy Martin Amerique for 20 years.

John Sheldon is wine representative for Artisan and Pas Mal, two fine wine importers and distributors; founder and director of the 40-year-old New York Wine Tasting School; and wine consultant to restaurants and private clubs.

Peter Sichel is a fourth-generation wine grower and négociant and a leading authority on German and Bordeaux wines. He is the former chairman of H. Sichel Söhne which imported Blue Nun, former owner of Château Fourcas-Hosten in Bordeaux and author of two wine books.

Darrin Siegfried is owner of Il Gallo Giallo Wine Bar in New Paltz, N.Y., and president of the Sommelier Society of America. He has managed a number of restaurants in New York and created the Brooklyn wine shop Red, White and Bubbly.

Mary Taylor is the French wine portfolio manager for Sherbrooke Cellars and the founder of the Thoreau Wine Society. Previously, she worked in fine wines at Sotheby’s and at Acker Merrall & Condit. Her experience covers retail and distribution.

Cristian Vasquez is food and beverage director of The Westin New York Grand Central. Previously, he held the same position at the Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe, N.M. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, he has worked in hotel restaurant management since 1995.

Full article – Global Traveler, August, 2013:

Wines On The Wing 2013

I want to specially thank Air Canada for upgrading my from flight from Toronto to New York and return, to Business Class.

Liz Palmer

The Safest Airlines in the World Revealed

A report released yesterday by Air Transport Rating Agency (ATRA) found that the safest carriers in the world were mainly those based in Europe and the US.

While European and US airlines rarely feature in the top 10 rankings for best customer service, airlines from these regions have dominated a new list of the world’s safest carriers.
Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa are the safest airlines in Europe.

The safest US-based airlines are AMR Corporation, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, while the safest from Asia is Japan Airlines.

To obtain this classification, the first of its kind, ATRA examined publicly available information on 15 criteria, such as the average age of the aircraft used or the homogeneity of the fleet.

Each year, the European Union releases list of banned airlines, often considered to be the world’s most dangerous. The latest list, published in April, can be seen at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm. It includes 37 Kazakh carriers and 43 Indonesian airlines.

World’s 10 safest airlines

Air France-KLM
AMR Corporation (American Airlines, American Eagles)
British Airways
Continental Airlines
Delta Airlines
Japan Airlines
Lufthansa
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines
US Airways