1400 bottles of wine. That’s how many Qantas Neil Perry Sommeliers tasted as part of the airline’s annual blind tasting program to select the national carrier’s extensive onboard and in-lounge wine list.
Qantas customers consume millions of bottles of wine every year with the airline one of the largest purchasers of Australian wine.
For the first time this year, the sommeliers also tasted non-alcoholic spirits and sparkling wines, to cater for an increasing number of customers who may be abstaining from alcohol but still wish to enjoy a glass of bubbles or a ‘mixed drink’ as part of their travels.
Master Sommelier Sebastian Crowther says while they use a traditional tasting methodology, an additional consideration when selecting onboard wines is how they will translate to form a part of the inflight dining experience.
“We taste such a diverse array of wines from all across the country and the philosophy is simple when it comes to selection, if it tastes great on the ground, then it will taste great in the air.
“We are seeing a trend all over the country for lighter and fresher styles, so in response to that, we are exploring newer and ‘cooler’ regions to include alongside the traditional regions of Australia.”
Winemakers, ranging from some of Australia’s best-known to smaller, emerging wineries, submitted their wines for tasting, keen for their wines to be showcased around the world.
Among them is Dan Coward, sales director at Alkina Wine Estate, the family-owned business that had two wines selected to be included in the airline’s First Class inflight wine list.
“We are delighted to have two of our South Australian wines selected for Qantas First, with our 2021 Alkina Kin ‘Night Sky’ GSM and 2021 Alkina Kin ‘Birdsong’ Shiraz soon to be featured across international flights. Not only is it an important commercial deal for our winemaking business but it also helps us build a global profile.”
Qantas offers complimentary wine and beer on all international flights, as well as selected domestic flights from 4pm every day, and on flights over three-and-a-half hours domestically it’s available from 9am.