777fan
Topic Author
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:09 pm

How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 4:14 am

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
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 6:10 am

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...
 
777fan
Topic Author
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:09 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 6:23 am

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
 
sunking737
Posts: 1114
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:33 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 6:43 am

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
 
3201
Posts: 813
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 4:16 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 6:46 am

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).
7 hours aint long-haul
 
User avatar
SLCUT2777
Posts: 3407
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:17 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 6:54 am

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!
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 7:15 am

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.
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
dutchjet
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 7:19 am

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.
 
saturn5
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:49 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 7:30 am

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]
 
We're Nuts
Posts: 4723
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2000 6:12 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 7:56 am

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 avatar
SLCUT2777
Posts: 3407
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:17 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 8:31 am

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!
 
Scrappy74
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 12:04 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 8:33 am

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..."
 
777fan
Topic Author
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:09 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 8:35 am

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
 
saturn5
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:49 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 1:12 pm

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.
 
kith
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:26 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm

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
 
BigGSFO
Posts: 2213
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:27 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 1:44 pm

As airlines cut costs, expect to see some two-Buck-Chuck....
 Smile
 
andz
Posts: 7624
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:49 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 1:52 pm

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...
 
We're Nuts
Posts: 4723
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2000 6:12 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 3:16 pm

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.
 
ckfred
Posts: 4694
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 4:03 pm

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.
 
Joni
Posts: 2613
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:05 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 7:53 pm

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.
 
PanHAM
Posts: 8529
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 6:44 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sun May 28, 2006 8:03 pm

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.
powered by Eierlikör
 
deltagator
Posts: 6170
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:56 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Mon May 29, 2006 3:10 am

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."
 
runway23
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:12 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Mon May 29, 2006 3:18 am

United tend to have a surprisingly good selection of wings in C. Continental is the opposite though.
 
TWAtwaTWA
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon May 15, 2006 5:18 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Mon May 29, 2006 3:37 pm

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.
 
georgiaame
Posts: 949
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:55 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Tue May 30, 2006 1:09 am

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
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Tue May 30, 2006 2:22 am

Quoting 777fan (Thread starter):
Has anyone actually had a decent tasting glass of wine while airborne?

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 still devloping the taste.

(The worst glass of wine is still better than the best beer I've had, however)

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
saturn5
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:49 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 7:11 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 25):
(The worst glass of wine is still better than the best beer I've had, however)

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 hardly any aging process for beers so there is minimal price differential between beers but there can literally be 1:100 price variation for wines. I suspect as a newbie you never had a really good wine so you don't know what you are missing. I urge you to explore and you may re-evaluate the wines you had had to this moment - this is what happened to me. Big grin
 
B6JFKH81
Posts: 1962
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:35 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 7:23 am

We have a wine company do the picking for us. Here is the link about our wines:

http://www.jetblue.com/havefun/wine.asp
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
isitsafenow
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 9:22 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:35 am

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 flight a couple of years back, I asked to see the label and a few days later found it in the wine aisle of a grocery store.

Try $18.50...and that's retail. The airline probably got it for someplace around $10-14 per bottle

safe

[Edited 2006-06-03 02:37:13]
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
saturn5
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:49 pm

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:45 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 28):
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 flight a couple of years back, I asked to see the label and a few days later found it in the wine aisle of a grocery store.

Try $18.50...and that's retail.

Interesting info. Perhaps other airlines (and/or international routes) try a bit harder though.  Big grin
 
halls120
Posts: 8724
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:24 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:50 am

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 6):
UA's wines in first and business are quite good. The economy mini-bottles with screw tops suck, however.

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 serve swill in Y class.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
mirrodie
Posts: 6789
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 3:33 am

RE: How Do Airlines Make Their Wine Selections?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:41 am

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 and is based out on the North Fork.

Are they cheap? no
High end? no

but good wine and AA does offer their stuff.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], JerseyMike, jetblastdubai, N766AN, N809FR, RalXWB, SANFan, SESGDL, smokeybandit, SPEEDJACK, sunrisevalley, VXCabinCrew, Yahoo [Bot] and 295 guests