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How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?  
User currently offline777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2496 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5230 times:

Interesting article although it neglected to mention if the taste testers had any clue!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...113803.story?coll=chi-business-hed

Has anyone actually had a decent tasting glass of wine while airborne? I find UA's domestic options awful at best. Maybe airlines ought to consider offering low-end brands for free, while charging a nominal fee to "upgrade" to a particular vintage. I still suggest offering the option to order a specific meal, beverage, etc. while making one's seat selection or reservation.

777fan


DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 5182 times:

YES!!!

BA introduced me to the excellent Boony Doon vineyards in CA, and my first sip of De Loach Chardonnay. Transatlantic in CW/F is a great way to spend an afternoon wine-tasting...


User currently offline777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2496 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5177 times:

I vaguely recall someone mentioning a wine-tasting excursion flight in and around Europe during the 1970s - the flight departed from and arrived at the same airport after a 6-8 hour sightseeing jaunt. The thread suggested the flights resembled a booze cruise. I wonder if the wine on those flights was any better than what I've seen on US domestic flights!


777fan



DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
User currently offlineSunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2040 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5150 times:

I know the airline I worked for they bought based on price. They changed wine brands 3 times in 4 years, each time the next one was cheaper then the last.

But with the last brand they were selling more of it. The names escapes me but it was from california.



Just an MSPAVGEEK
User currently offline3201 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5147 times:

For their C/F international wine offerings, the airlines usually tout and profile their sommelier in the in-flight mag, the menus, etc. I've had some bad wines, but a few that were very drinkable, in C on LA and UA. For some reason, although I drink mostly red on the ground, I find whites more memorable in the air. An article on the UA sommelier mentioned that the choices for in-flight wines have to take into account the environment (dry, lower-pressured air), so he avoids certain qualities such as anything highly astringent.

The wines I've had in economy, on the other hand, are all nothing I'd ever drink on the ground (and I drink some pretty cheap stuff).


User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4049 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5131 times:

Quoting 777fan (Thread starter):
Has anyone actually had a decent tasting glass of wine while airborne? I find UA's domestic options awful at best. Maybe airlines ought to consider offering low-end brands for free, while charging a nominal fee to "upgrade" to a particular vintage. I still suggest offering the option to order a specific meal, beverage, etc. while making one's seat selection or reservation.

777fan

I'm not a wine drinker. But if an airline wanted to get some good fine wines to have on board and not pay through the nose for them, I'm told by many and have read a great deal about Costco Wholesale Warehouse Corporation's wine selection and buying program. Of course here in Utah they would have to go through the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (run by the good ole State of Utah  devil !), and with any state run enterprise, you end up with a loser! Costco would take out the guess work for any supply procurements for any carrier.



DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5115 times:

UA's wines in first and business are quite good. The economy mini-bottles with screw tops suck, however. And wine out of a plastic cup....argh! But, you get what you pay for. Generally with the glut of good quality and relatively inexpensive wines on the worldwide market, it should be a buyers market for airlines. I've had a few flights where flight attendants were quite knowledgeable on what they were pouring. Nice touch.

User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 57
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5110 times:

Well, a bunch of F/As sit around and drink wine until they are falling down drunk....and if they liked the wine, thats whats served!

Oh, seriously, wine and beverage choices are made by the executive chefs and their associates in the airlines inflight services/catering department....many airlines consult with well known restaurant owners, celebrity chefs, etc and get their input. Selecting wines is not as easy as it sounds, availibility and distribution are huge issues.....lots of supply must be available from many distribution points, for example.

Wine tends not to taste as good in the air as it does on the ground........there is a scientific/medical reason for this, but I cannot remember it (I must have drank too much wine!).

Hughes Airwest used to have Wine Tasting Services on some of their longer (meaning 1.5 to 2 hour) flights in the US west.......only us old guys would remember that.


User currently offlineSaturn5 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5095 times:

As you can see from this article (assuming it is true) even the first class passengers get a wine of approx. value $20-30 a bottle.

I like wine enough that recently I "upgraded" myself from purchasing a typical $10-$20 range per bottle to $30-50. Price is not everything, I quickly realized you get much better value if you stay away from wines made in Napa or Sonoma which carry a premium. I once made a stop at Paso Robles and after some tasing came across this one small winery that only sells wine directly. After tasting some of their wines I realized what sort of mouth-wash I had had before. All of a sudden I was experiencing a wine that was aged in new oak barrels for over 18 months. The difference in quality was so stark that on the spot I vowed to never drink a wine that woul be less than that. I enrolled in their wine club. Yes, I pay now typically about $32 per bottle but when I now open one of their wines I am in heaven. When I serve this wine to my unsuspecting friends they stare at me in disbelief after the first sip. No, you will never experince a wine like that on an aircraft (even in first class) since airlines buy wines from suppliers who in turn buy from wineries that typically produce more than 20,000 cases a year. In my opinion you get best quality/price ratio from vineyards that limit themselves to 4000-10000 cases a year. I flew a few times first class on Cathay Pacific (LAX-Hongkong) and although their wines are ok they never even approach quality of the wines I have in mind. And as you can see you don't have to spend $100 or more per bottle to enjoy wine of fantastic quality (throwing a lot $$ for wine is easy).

As someone remarked wine will never taste as good on an aircraft as in your home/restaurant so maybe airlines know what they are doing - too expensive wines not only would be a waste but would probably fail to impress most passengers since majority know little about good wines anyway.

[Edited 2006-05-28 00:36:29]

User currently offlineWe're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5063 times:

Here is a good article on Southwest's blog about their wine selection process:

http://www.blogsouthwest.com/2006/05...22/no-more-whining-about-the-wine/



Dear moderators: No.
User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4049 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5023 times:

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 7):
Well, a bunch of F/As sit around and drink wine until they are falling down drunk....and if they liked the wine, that's whats served!

If they are 21-40 or so, where do they do this!  crazy   drool   drunk   eyepopping   hypnotized   laughing   rotfl   rotfl 



DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
User currently offlineScrappy74 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 97 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5018 times:

Quoting 777fan (Thread starter):
I find UA's domestic options awful at best.

The funny thing is, UA actually employs a sommelier (translation: person who spends their day sniffing and swilling wine). I read this in the April or May issue of Hemispheres...

Not being a big wine connaisseur, I can't weigh in much other than the fact that ANYTHING tastes bad in a plastic cup (memories of college are rushing back...).

 boggled 



"These days, I wish I was 6 again..."
User currently offline777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2496 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5018 times:

Quoting Saturn5 (Reply 8):
I once made a stop at Paso Robles

Paso Robles is heaven on earth!

Quoting We're Nuts (Reply 9):

The funniest thing about that article was that my initial reaction made me believe there'd be something about Boone's on it! LMAO! Vendage is fair at best; a restaurant I worked at several years ago touted it as one of their better wines, a fact that was refuted by it's poor customer reviews and subsequent discontinuation!

777fan



DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
User currently offlineSaturn5 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4924 times:

Quoting 777fan (Reply 12):
Paso Robles is heaven on earth!

Your words not mine Big grin
But I happen to agree. And though still relatively 'undiscovered' I see significant increase of people going through their wineries in the last year.


User currently offlineKITH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 378 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4905 times:

Steve Wolf used to personally pick many of the US wine selections. At his apartment in Paris he had cases of the best wines (US Wines in the late 1990's in their 1 row of F on the A330 were superb). Usually $80+, rediculous. -Matt in KITH

User currently offlineBigGSFO From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2920 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4903 times:

As airlines cut costs, expect to see some two-Buck-Chuck....
 Smile


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8451 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4896 times:
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South Africa produces some of the world's finest wines and SAA are keen to promote them, the wine selection varies regularly and there are different wines for first, business and economy class.

http://ww4.flysaa.com/en/en_content_...es/za_dining_services_content.html

This is unfortunately to the standard of most of SAA's pitiful website but it gives an idea of the selections available.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineWe're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 20
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4857 times:

Quoting KITH (Reply 14):
Steve Wolf used to personally pick many of the US wine selections. At his apartment in Paris he had cases of the best wines

Nice "business" expense, Stevie.  banghead 



Dear moderators: No.
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5216 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4844 times:

I know that AA used to have a professor in Purdue University's Ag College (he was an expert on the science of growing grapes) select its wines.

On a BOS-ORD flight in first on AA, I discovered a very nice chardonney from Chalk Hill Winery in California.


User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4759 times:

Finnair for one has a good wine selection, and I've noticed they match the wine to the food each time, even in Economy.

The cabin pressure etc. do affect how the wine tastes, but this can be taken into account when selecting the wine. For one, I'd expect that with the lower pressure it would take longer for any aeration to occur. Perhaps the producers even take this to account and produce specific versions of their wines for airline use - I don't imagine that the FAs decant anything even in First.


User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9281 posts, RR: 29
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4753 times:

BA rates very well with their Wine selection in C and F and their selection of Champagnes is outstanding.

The biggest problem with wine is that the taste is different in the air than it is on the ground. That makes it very difficult to get the right selection.

Whatever is served in Y, my suggestion is that you rather drink mineral water. Like Wine should never be bough in a supermarket. Life is too short to drink bad Wines.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4630 times:

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 18):
I know that AA used to have a professor in Purdue University's Ag College (he was an expert on the science of growing grapes) select its wines.

Interesting way of doing it. The grape experts (viticulture) aren't usually what I would consider experts in wine (oenologists.) Although Purdue has a good viticulture program they are mainly focused on the vines that grow in the area which doesn't do much for the French Varietals that wine folks really like as it is just too cold there during the winters. All that said, more power to AA if he selects good stuff.

Quoting 777fan (Reply 12):
Vendage is fair at best

Pure swill IMHO!

Quoting 777fan (Reply 12):
The funniest thing about that article was that my initial reaction made me believe there'd be something about Boone's on it! LMAO!

It lost all credibility when it posed the question of Boone's Farm vs. Opus One. I think even the most soused white trash redneck flying on WN could figure out the difference. Sadly, I'd put money on them selecting the Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineRunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2190 posts, RR: 35
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4620 times:

United tend to have a surprisingly good selection of wings in C. Continental is the opposite though.

User currently offlineTWAtwaTWA From United States of America, joined May 2006, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4523 times:

I have to say, that I am a wine drinker, and I am ususally pleasantly surprised by AA's wine choices. By no means do they stock high end stuff, but the sommelier makes good choices and reasonable price points. When I have had the chance to fly domestic and international business, the wine and champagne is even slightly better. Not stratospheric quality, but much better than the average joe would buy at the grocery store. They are also interesting wines, from chile and other "underdog" wine countries.

Here is a picture of AA's sommelier and his story
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm..._winepicker16.html?syndication=rss
Big version: Width: 500 Height: 375 File size: 25kb


Definitely, the altitude and airborne cabin environment is a terrible place to really taste nuances. Somehow, great wine tastes just ok up there, and mediocre wine tastes terrible!



We're your kind of airline. Uh, I mean, We *were* your kind of airline.
User currently offlineGeorgiaAME From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 968 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 4445 times:

I have quite a few bones to pick with Delta, but they have been serving a Brown Brothers Shiraz, Patrica Reserve 2003 in international business class that is superb. And it runs, unfortunately, around $25 on the ground, if you can find it. I recently had a Piedemonte (?) Red, also superb. A Spanish tempranillo-cabernet-merlot blend, truly fantastic.

The dreck they serve in steerage makes you wonder, but up front internationally, for my money, they have some of the finest wines in the air. Other than the Champaigne selection, Delta's business class wines beat Air France, hands down, and the stemware is better also. (AF pate beats the competition, however)



"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
25 Lincoln : Well... If it counts, the worst glass of wine I've ever had was while airborne. But I've only had 7 or 8 glasses of wine since I turned 21 and am sti
26 Post contains images Saturn5 : Oh, I am not sure why you say so, makes no sense to me. There are horrible wines out there whereas beers are mostly OK - beer is a beer. There is har
27 Post contains links B6JFKH81 : We have a wine company do the picking for us. Here is the link about our wines: http://www.jetblue.com/havefun/wine.asp
28 Isitsafenow : I have a glass of wine in F domestic on NW every now and then. I can assure you the bottle is NOT in the $20-30 range as posted someplace above. On a
29 Post contains images Saturn5 : Interesting info. Perhaps other airlines (and/or international routes) try a bit harder though.
30 Halls120 : Agree with the above. I've enjoyed some very nice reds on UA flights when in first and business. UA's - and all carriers, for that matter - tend to s
31 Mirrodie : AFAIK, AA has some good wines though I do not know their process in choosing. I know in the recent past, they had Palmer wines, which has many awards
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