Cellars in the Sky 2016

Cellars in the Sky

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2016 Awards, which recognise the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide in the last year, were presented at Trinity House Tower Hill by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

This year, British Airways took home the coveted top spot of Best Overall Wine Cellar, with fellow Oneworld member Malaysia Airlines taking Best First Class Cellar. Taiwanese carrier EVA Air took the Gold Medal for Best Business Class Cellar, along with Best Business Class Sparkling.

Winning joint Gold for Best First Class Sparkling were Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, who also picked up trophies for Best Presented First Class Wine List and Best Presented Business Class Wine List, respectively.

Japan Airlines received the Gold Medal for Best First Class Red, while American Airlines won joint Gold with Malaysia Airlines for Best First Class White. Brussels Airlines won Best Business Class Red, and Finnair Best Business Class White.

Singapore Airlines grabbed Best First Class Fortified/Dessert Wine and Qatar Airways Best Business Class Fortified/Dessert Wine. Oneworld was once again named Best Airline Alliance.

Cellars in the Sky Awards

Business Traveller contacted more than 75 airlines in summer 2016, and 33 entered. Blind tastings took place at the Crowne Plaza London Kensington in December, with four judges independently scoring the wines. Along with Metcalfe, the judges were: Tim Atkin, Sarah Abbott and Peter McCombie, co-chairpeople of the International Wine Challenge.

Participating airlines were: Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Astana, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, ANA, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, El Al, EVA Air, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Jetblue, Jetstar, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Thai Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Cellars in the Sky was in its 31st year in 2016, having been running since 1985. For more information and images for publications please contact Kirsty Clark at [email protected] or
tel +44 (0)20 7821 2700.

FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES:

BEST FIRST CLASS RED

Gold Medal: Japan Airlines – Kusuda Syrah 2013, Martinborough, New Zealand

Silver Medal: British Airways – Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2012, Martinborough, New Zealand

Bronze Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Schubert Wairarapa Syrah 2013, Martinborough, New Zealand

 

BEST FIRST CLASS WHITE

Gold Medal (joint):

American Airlines – Domaine René Lequin-Colin, Clos Devant Chassagne-Montrachet 2014, Burgundy, France

Malaysia Airlines – Château La Louvière Blanc 2013, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France

Silver Medal: Air FranceE. Guigal Condrieu 2014, Northern Rhône, France

Bronze Medal: Qantas Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2015, Margaret River, Australia

 

BEST FIRST CLASS SPARKLING

Gold Medal (joint):

Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways ­­– Krug Grande Cuvée, NV, Cotes des Blancs, Champagne, France

Silver Medal (joint): Air France – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005, France

American Airlines – Champagne Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2007, France

Bronze Medal (joint): Malaysia Airlines – Champagne Joseph Perrier Cuvée Josephine 2004, France         

ANA ­– Champagne Louis Roederer Rosé 2010, France

 

BEST FIRST CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT

Gold Medal: Singapore AirlinesGraham’s 20 Year Old Port, Douro, Portugal

Silver Medal: QantasSeppeltsfield Paramount Rare Tokay, Rutherglen, Australia

Bronze Medal: British AirwaysMullineaux Olerasay Number One, NV, Swartland, South Africa

 

BEST-PRESENTED FIRST CLASS WINE LIST

Cathay Pacific

 

BEST FIRST CLASS CELLAR

Gold Medal: Malaysia Airlines

Silver Medal: American Airlines

Bronze Medal (joint): Qantas, Qatar Airways

 

BEST BUSINESS CLASS RED

Gold Medal:

Brussels Airlines – Château d’Eyran 2012, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France

Silver Medal: Air France – Château la Sauvageonne Grand Vin 2012, AOP Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc Roussillon, France

Bronze Medal (joint):

Aer Lingus ­­– Delas Saint Joseph “Les Challeys” 2014, Rhône Valley, France

Austrian Airlines ­– Hans & Christine Nittnaus Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve, Zweigelt Luckenwald 2013, Burgenland, Austria

 

BEST BUSINESS CLASS WHITE

Gold Medal: Finnair – Schloss Reinhartshausen Hattenheim Wisselbrunnen Riesling Kabinett 2014, Hattenheim, Rheingau, Germany

Silver Medal: Qantas ­­– Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia

Bronze Medal: Qantas – Seppelt Jaluka Chardonnay 2015, Henty, Victoria, Australia

Highly commended: Austrian AirlinesGruber Röschitz Weinviertel DAC Hundspoint 2015,

Niedersterreich, Austria

Icelandair – St Clair Family Estate Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Malaysia Airlines – Wairau River Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

 

BEST BUSINESS CLASS SPARKLING

Gold Medal: EVA Air ­– Champagne de Castelnau Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2007, France

Silver Medal: British Airways – Champagne de Castelnau Brut Reserve, NV, France

Bronze Medal (joint): Air Canada – Drappier Carte D’or, NV, Champagne, France

LATAM – Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier, NV, Reims, France

 

BEST BUSINESS CLASS FORTIFIED/SWEET

Gold Medal: Qatar AirwaysCruz Gran Cruz Colheita Port 1992, Douro, Portugal

Silver Medal: Delta Air LinesCálem 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Porto, Portugal

Bronze Medal: Austrian Airlines – Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvée 2013, Neusiedlersee, Burgenland, Austria

Highly commended:

Air France – Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny, Douro, Portugal

 

BEST BUSINESS CLASS CELLAR

Gold Medal: EVA Air

Silver Medal: British Airways

Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific

 

BEST-PRESENTED BUSINESS CLASS WINE LIST

Qatar Airways

BEST airline alliance

Oneworld

 

BEST OVERALL CELLAR

Gold Medal: British Airways

Silver Medal: Qantas

Bronze Medal: Qatar Airways


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  • pete765

    Given that all BA do is cut it’s laughable that they win an award like this, their wines certainly don’t match the standards at Air France or Lufthansa though I note Lufthansa no longer participate in this.

    • Cheeryguy

      Blind tastings do produce some surprises.
      With the absence of pre conceived ideas and prejudices, the results often raise eyebrows.

  • IAN ASSUMPTION

    In order for this to have any reliability or validity we would need to know all the airlines that HAVE NOT participated.
    A bit like the “best restaurant in the world” awards, rarely accurate.

    • Well since all the ones that participated are listed, surely that’s not difficult to work out?

  • Hazem

    Another IMPORTANT factor to consider before awarding prizes is: HOW MANY bottles are on stock during a flight!
    On 3/3/2017 I flew Qatar Airways Business Class from Copenhagen to Doha, despite NOT serving Champagne before take-off, it was out of stock even before the appetizer course!!

  • Tomasz

    Dear Tom Otley,
    Thank you very much for the wonderful Cellar in The Sky evening.
    The wine was truly amazing!
    Greetings from Kensington Apartments….

    Tom Ziemski
    Proprietor