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Raise a glass to oneworld - 2017 best alliance for wines winner

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Perfectly balanced to match your taste even at 30,000 ft, our wines do not just taste great on the ground, they taste great in the air as well.

oneworld was named the Best Airline Alliance in this year’s Global Traveler magazine’s Wines on the Wing competition.

The result echoes the findings of the Cellars in the Sky awards presented by the UK’s Business Traveller in February this year – and retained by oneworld for multiple years – which means that oneworld’s now holds both awards presented to recognise the quality the wines served by member airlines of a global alliance.

In this year’s Global Traveler Wines on the Wing competition, 46 white wines, 49 red wines, and 23 Champagne or sparkling wines currently served in Business and First Class on international and North American routes were blind-tasted by a panel of 21 independent judges who are noted wine-industry experts.

American Airlines received the best North American airline for wines in First/Business Class Award, as well as taking gold for North American First/Business Class White Wine and Red Wine and a silver award for International First Class Champagne.

In the international category, British Airways, along with airberlin, also took several runners-up placings.

We asked our colleagues at American Airlines about their wine selection process. Wines for American Airlines are chosen by Ken Chase, the airline’s wine consultant, and Intervine, a Napa-based airline wine programme management company.

The selection sourcing process starts with a consideration of consumer trends and the reputation and history of the house. Wines are tasted several times blindly as part of a process to identify those of exceptional quality. If lacking, a wine is eliminated from further consideration, no matter the reputation of the house.

The in-flight environment is a challenge to still wine and Champagne, although, to be precise, it is the passenger that changes, not the wine. The dry air and noise lessen a passenger’s ability to perceive more subtle aromas and flavours. As such, the wines selected for serving in-flght are chosen, in part, for the degree of aromas and fruit they exhibit. A still wine or Champagne that is subtle or shy on the ground will be even more so in-flight. These are left on the ground.

airberlin Sansibar Champagne is very special - it is actually a cuvée based on Pinot Meunier. Due to viticulture challenges and low yields, the grape variety, also known as Black Riesling in Germany, is only grown in the Champagne region. As a cuvée, however, it lends this Champagne a wonderful creaminess and exceptional depth in terms of aroma. The makers of this Champagne proudly describe themselves as “Pinot Meunier People”.