Cellars in the Sky 2010

1 Dec 2010 by Jenny Southan

The annual Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky awards, which recognise the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide were presented this evening (Thursday February 3) at London’s Thistle Kensington Gardens hotel by Charles Metcalfe, TV wine presenter and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

Qantas walked away with awards for Best First Class White, First Class Red and First Class Sparkling, as well as Best Business Class Cellar, Best First Class Cellar and Consistency of Wines Across Business and First Class, which means it even trumped its previous haul of four awards in 2009.

Qatar Airways also did well, receiving three honours for Best Business Class Sparkling, Business Class Fortified/Sweet (jointly with All Nippon Airways) and First Class Fortified, while Kiwi carrier Air New Zealand won two awards, for Best Business Class Red and Best-presented Wine List.

The prize for the Airline with the Most Improved Business Class Cellar went to Lufthansa, while the award for Airline with the Most Improved First Class Cellar went to All Nippon Airways, and that for Best Alliance went to Oneworld. For a full list of winners and shortlisted carriers click here.

Business Traveller contacted more than 75 airlines in the summer of 2010, inviting them to enter two white wines, two red wines, one sparkling and one fortified or sweet wine, from both business and first class. Airlines didn’t have to enter all the categories, but to be eligible for a Best Cellar prize they had to submit at least one red, one white and one sparkling.  

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky awards have been running since 1985, with a record number of 36 airlines taking part this time round. Blind tastings took place over two days on November 4 and 5 at the Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel, in London over two days, with five judges independently scoring them. The judges were:

  • Charles Metcalfe, TV wine presenter and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge
  • Sam Harrop, Master of Wine and winemaking consultant
  • Derek Smedley, Master of Wine for more than 40 years, consultant and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge
  • Peter McCombie, Master of Wine, accredited tutor for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and consultant
  • John Worontschak, leading winemaker and wine business development consultant

The airlines that took part were:

Aer Lingus, Aegean Airlines, Air Astana, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, El Al, Etihad, Emirates, Finnair, Gulf Air, Iberia, Jet Airways, Kenya Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Korean Air, LAN, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, South African Airways, TAM, Thai Airways and United Airlines.

Cellars in the Sky 2010


Business Class White

1. American Airlines – Wegeler Bernkasteler Doktor Riesling 2007, Bernkastel, Mosel, Germany

2. Delta Air Lines – Vincent Girardin Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay2008, Mâconnais, Burgundy, France

3. Qantas – Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 2008, Yarra Valley, Australia

4 (JOINT) Austrian Airlines – Taferner Gelber Muskateller 2009, Carnuntum, Austria AND Qantas – Kilikanoon Mort’s Block Riesling 2009, Clare Valley, Australia


Business Class Red

1. Air New Zealand – Matariki Syrah 2007, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

2. Qantas – Penfolds RWT Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia

3. (JOINT) Etihad – Marchesi de Frescobaldi Luce della Vite Lucente 2006, Tuscany, Italy AND Qatar Airways – Château le Bon Pasteur 2004, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France

5. Air New Zealand – Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2008, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand


Business Class Sparkling

1. Qatar Airways – Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle 1996, Champagne, France

2. Etihad – Henriot Blanc Souverain, Champagne, France

3. (JOINT) British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines – Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, Champagne, France AND LAN – Louis Roederer Brut Premier, Champagne, France

5. Jet Airways – Dom Pérignon 2002, Champagne, France


Business Class Fortified and Sweet

1. (JOINT) Qatar Airways and All Nippon Airways – Taylor’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal

2. Brussels Airlines – Croft Ten-year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal

3. Lufthansa – Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2005, Douro, Portugal

4. Air New Zealand – Coopers Creek Reserve Marlborough Late Harvest Riesling 2009, New Zealand

5. United Airlines – Sandeman Founders Reserve Port, Douro, Portugal




First Class White

1. Qantas – Peter Lehmann Wigan Eden Valley Riesling 2004, Barossa, Australia

2. Qatar Airways – Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2008, Mosel, Germany

3. Emirates – Vincent Girardin Abbaye de Morgeot, Chassagne-Montrachet, Vieilles Vignes, Premier Cru 2006, Burgundy, France

4. Singapore Airlines – Reichsgraf Piesporter Goldtropfchen Von Kesselstatt Riesling Kabinett 2007, Goldtropfchen, Mosel, Germany

5. British Airways – Roux Père et Fils Saint-Aubin Premier Cru les Cortons Chardonnay 2007, Burgundy, France


First Class Red

1. Qantas – Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2006, Canberra, Australia

2. Oman Air – Château Grand Mayne St Emilion Grand Cru Classé 1998, Bordeaux, France

3. Thai Airways – Château Dauzac Margaux 2002, Bordeaux, France

4. All Nippon Airways – Cirrus Syrah 2006, Stellenbosch, South Africa

5. Qatar Airways – Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2004, St Julien, Bordeaux, France


First Class Sparkling

1. Qantas – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1999, Champagne, France

2. United Airlines – Henriot Brut Millésimé 1996, Champagne, France

3. (JOINT) Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific – Krug Grande Cuvée, Champagne, France

4. Thai Airways – Bollinger 1999, Champagne, France

5. Malaysia Airlines and Jet Airways – Dom Pérignon 2002, Champagne, France


First Class Fortified

1. Qatar Airways – Domaine Weinbach Clos des Capucins Furstentum Grand Cru Vendanges Tardives Gewurztraminer 2005, Alsace, France

2. Cathay Pacific – Ramos Pinto Ten Years Quinta da Ervamoira, Touriga Francesa, Douro, Portugal

3. Qantas – Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Tokay, Rutherglen, Australia

4. British Airways – D’arenberg the Noble Mud Pie 2008, Adelaide, Australia

5. Korean Air – Tio Pepe Fino Muy Seco Palomino Fino, Andalucia, Spain




Best-presented Wine List

1. Air New Zealand

2. Qantas

3. All Nippon Airways

4. Lufthansa

5. LAN


Best Business Class Cellar

1. Qantas

2. Air New Zealand

3. Qatar Airways

4. Malaysia Airlines

5. American Airlines


Best First Class Cellar

1. Qantas

2. Qatar Airways

3. All Nippon Airways

4. Cathay Pacific

5. Thai Airways


Consistency of wines across business and first class

1. Qantas

2. Qatar Airways

3. Malaysia Airlines

4. All Nippon Airways

5. Cathay Pacific


Best Alliance

1. Oneworld

2. Star Alliance

3. Skyteam


Airline with the Most Improved Business Class Cellar

1. Lufthansa

2. Emirates

3. LAN


Airline with the Most Improved First Class Cellar

1. All Nippon Airways

2. Cathay Pacific

3. Emirates

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