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
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
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
BEST AIRLINE ALLIANCE
BEST OVERALL CELLAR
• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific
• Bronze Medal: ANA, Qatar Airways
• Highly Commended: American Airlines