Raising a toast to oneworld - best alliance for wine

11 February 2010

Judges at a leading international wine-tasting competition have raised their glasses to the oneworld® alliance and many of its member airlines.

They have once again selected oneworld as the Best Alliance for the wines served in-flight by its member airlines in the latest Cellars in the Sky Awards, run by Business Traveller magazine, in association with the International Wine Challenge.

oneworld's member airlines flew high in the other award categories, taking six of the 12 first prizes up for grabs, along with 24 runners-up awards.  Airlines in the Star alliance achieved just three first prizes and 11 runners-up placings, while SkyTeam member took only one first prize and six runners-up positions.

It is the 25th year that Cellars in the Sky Awards have been presented.  A panel of five leading experts blind-tasted more than 220 wines served on longhaul flights by 34 airlines from around the world.

The 2009 alliance award was received on behalf of oneworld by representatives of two of its airline members among the winners at the presentation ceremony at the 2010 Business Travel Show at London's Earl Court - Cathay Pacific's Assistant Manager Beverage and Catering Supplies Clara Yip and Qantas Regional General Manager UK and Ireland Judith Crompton.

Qantas took four of the top prizes - for Best First Class Cellar; Best Red Wine served in First Class, won by its Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2005; Best Fortified or Sweet Wine served in First Class, won by its Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Tokay; and Best Presented Wine List. 

Cathay Pacific made two trips to the winners' podium - for Best Business Class Wine Cellar and Best Red Wine served in Business Class, for its Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2007.

oneworld member airlines took four of the top five places for Best First Class Cellar - with American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific runners-up behind Qantas.  The only other airline on the shortlist was Qatar, which is not a member of any of the global airline alliances.

oneworld members also accounted for four of the top five places for Best Business Class Cellar - with LAN and again American Airlines and British Airways runners up, this time behind Cathay Pacific.  Unaligned Qatar was again the only other airline on the shortlist.

The judges said of this year's winners: "An award-winning wine has to obey the general rules of what works in the air, but it has to have elegance and balance as well.  Various elements in a wine, such as tannin in reds, and acidity in whites, seem to stick out more in the air. So we look for smooth, not too alcoholic reds, and crisp but gentle whites.  We wanted to find wines that really delight a business traveller, and contribute to the feeling that his ticket money is well-spent."

Among the runners-up placings awarded to oneworld member airlines:

  • American Airlines - second equal for Consistency of Wines Across Business and First Class, and with two of its wines taking fourth placings as Best First Class Red.
  • British Airways - second and third placings in Best First Class White, fourth for Consistency of Wines Across Business and First Class, and fourth equal for Best First Class Red,
  • Cathay Pacific - second equal for Consistency of Wines Across Business and First Class, second for Best Business Class White, fourth for Best First Class White, fifth for Best Business Class Sparkling
  • LAN - fourth for Best Business Class Sparkling
  • Mexicana - third for Best Business Class Sparkling,
  • Qantas - third for Consistency of Wines Across Business and First Class, for Best First Class Sparkling Wine and for Best Business Class Sparkling, fourth for Best Business Class White and fifth for Best Business Class Fortified or Sweet Wine.

The judges comprised: Charles Metcalfe, TV wine presenter and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge; Joanna Simon, author, wine and food editor for House and Garden magazine and co-founder of the Wine Gang (thewinegang.com); Sam Harrop, Master of Wine and wine-making consultant; Derek Smedley, Master of Wine for more than 40 years, consultant and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge; and Tim Atkin, Master of Wine, wine columnist for The Observer, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge and co-founder of the Wine Gang.

About Business Traveller

Business Traveller describes itself as the world's leading business travel publication, publishing more than four million copies a year globally, in the UK, USA, Germany, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, China, Hungary, Denmark, Poland and Africa. See www.businesstraveller.com

About oneworld

              

oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, MalĂ©v Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas and Royal Jordanian, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru.  Russia's S7 Airlines will join the alliance in 2010.

Between them, these airlines:

  • Serve almost 750 airports in nearly 150 countries, with some 8,500 daily departures.
  • Offer nearly 550 airport lounges for premium customers.
  • Carry some 330 million passengers a year.
  • Employ 300,000 people and operate almost 2,500 aircraft.
  • Generate some US$100 billion annual revenues in total.

The alliance enables its members to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own.  These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.   oneworld also offers more alliance fares than any of its competitors.  It is the only alliance with any airlines based in South America, Australia or Asia's Middle East.

oneworld was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the seventh year running in the latest (2009) World Travel Awards.   It is the only winner of this award since it was introduced in 2003.