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Cellars in the Sky 2020: Best airline wines revealed

11 Feb 2021 by BusinessTraveller
Cellars in the Sky

The winners of Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky Awards 2020 have been announced, with Qatar Airways winning five gold awards including Best Overall Cellar.

Now in its 35th year, Cellars in the Sky has been running since 1985, and celebrates the best business and first class wines served by airlines on their flights.

Last year was perhaps the most difficult on record for many airlines, but the wines served on board before the pandemic were judged by our panel and ranked for the annual awards.

The awards were dominated by Gulf carriers Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, which won a total of nine gold awards between them.

Bottles ready for tasting at the Cellars in the Sky awards

Qatar Airways scooped gold medals for Best First Class Red, Best First Class Cellar, Best Business Class Red and Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, as well as walking away with the top award for Best Overall Cellar.

Meanwhile Etihad Airways won gold medals in the Best First Class White, Best First Class Rosé, Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine and Best Business Class Rosé categories. The carrier also took home the largest number of awards overall, with four gold, five silver and two bronze.

Other notable gold medal winners included Cathay Pacific for Best First Class Sparkling, and, priving that size isn’t everything, Air Tahiti Nui, which won gold in the Best Business Class White, Best Business Class Sparkling, and Best Business Class Cellar categories.

Judges at the Cellars in the Sky blind tastings

The judges for the 2020 awards were: masters of wine Sarah Abbott, Tim Atkin and Peter McCombie, and head judge Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

The blind tastings took place with Metcalfe joining via Zoom, and the four judges independently scored the wines over the course of two days. For the first time in the competition’s history, each judge tasted every single entry individually. The circumstances may have changed, but the quality of wines and discussion amongst the judges was as animated as ever.

For the full list of winners and shortlisted wines, click here.

For more information and images for publication, please contact Kirsty Clark at [email protected].

Charles Metcalfe joining the Cellars in the Sky blind tastings via Zoom
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