Which airline has the best wine/champagne offering?

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  • Anonymous

    Free Lance

    Following on from the thread on the best food in business, I was wondering which airlines people rate the most highly for the booze they serve on board? And is it important to people?

    I don’t really drink much when I am flying but I know people who do enjoy a few glasses of fizz now and then, and make use of the free offerings in the lounge too. For that matter, which lounges offer the best selection of spirits/wine/champagne?


    Whilst I know the likes of BA and Virgin do offer good wines and fizz, I have to say I was rather impressed by Iberia’s offerings recently (MAD-SJO and return).

    The wine list changes once every two months and is issued when you’ve been seated, in a small A5 format. There are full tasing notes for their recently ‘Wines on the Wing’ award winning list. The cabin crew also took great pride in explaining the wines, the regions of origin and made recommendations (which were perfect) based upon what meal we were enjoying at the time.

    Obviously being spanish, they do not serve champagne, but their own indigenious cava, which I have to say, I always prefer over champagne anyway. Two of these were on offer on the flight.

    They also offered the usual suspects in terms of spirits, but made it obvious that spanish was what was available, therefore only good spanish brandy was served as digestiv.

    The longes at Madrid also stock all the wines (complete with the wine lists and full tasting notes) that are served on board. Therefore whilst your flight is delayed, you can at least enjoy what is on offer when you finally board the aircraft!

    Business Traveller replies:

    We thought you might be interested to know that the annual results of Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky wine awards will be published online at businesstraveller.com on February 10.

    As with previous years, airlines were invited to submit a selection of wine they serve in business and first class (red, white, sparkling and sweet/fortified), which were then judged at an independent tasting by wine experts in November last year.

    A full report of Cellars in the Sky will be published in the March edition of Business Traveller magazine, as well as the full list of winning airlines and winning wines, and details on the judging process.

    We look forward to hearing your comments!


    Air New Zealand without a doubt. Fantastic reds.


    Anyone who has been fortunate enough to experience Singapore Airlines First Class can attest to their great selection of Champagnes, Wines and Spirits.

    My favourite – Mr Riggs The Gaffer Shiraz 2005 – Absolutely Delightful!!!

    Incidentally, you can by the 2006 edition for as little as £8.79 from UK online retailers.


    Singapore, Cathay, and Korean all have great wine choices in First and Business Class. United, on the other hand, serves seriously flawed wines on its flights. What happened to the days when United used to serve Dom Perignon on transcontinental First Class? I don’t fly for the wine/champagne, but US carriers just do not measure up.
    BA and Lufthansa seem to have fairly good wines on their first and business class, but I haven’t flown them often enough to state with certainty.

    I live just miles from Napa Valley, so I don’t choose airlines for its wines (certainly NOT for their food!), but it would be nice to be pleasantly surprised by a wonderful wine.


    I was in the BA FIRST lounge at T5 last Dec – the Cattier Clos du Moulin champagne is rather delicious. I am flying FIRST from T5 in a few months so will be able to use the Concorde lounge, I wonder if there is anything that beats the Clos du Moulin in there?


    I am not a fan of the Cattier myself – I think it has a nose like old socks, but maybe it works well at altitude; so far I have always requested something else.

    BA is doling out Ayala in Club World at present; I was preparing to beunderwhelmed, but it is actually rather pleasant, and not too fizzy. Ayala is owned by Bollinger, and although it sounds like a phone system, is actually a diamond in the rough.

    A new one on me was something called Cuvee Diamant (1998), which seems tobe the premium brand of the less than spectacular Heidsieck Monopole, which I had last week on UA F, and it was almost perfect for altitude, and slipped down very nicely indeed.

    An interesting design of cut glass bottle:


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