Emirates is introducing a new array of exceptional wines onboard global flights this month, as the previous year’s investment into wine and champagne tops AED 186 million. As part of a continuous and concerted investment into the onboard experience, Emirates boasts the most extensive wine cellar of any airline - dedicated facilities in France which currently house around 6 million bottles of fine wine, some of which won’t be served until 2037.
New fine wines onboard Emirates
In the coming months Emirates will introduce a selection of the finest white Burgundy wines, including prestigious Premier and Grand Crus wines such as Montrachet 2011, Chevalier-Montrachet 2013, and Corton-Charlemagne 2014, as well as some exceptional red Burgundy wines, primarily Grand Crus like Échezeaux, Clos Vougeot, and Chambertin.
Emirates is also planning to introduce several First Growths from Bordeaux in the coming years, from the renowned estates of Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Margaux, Château Haut-Brion, Château Cheval Blanc, and Château d’Yquem. First Growth refers to the topmost level of the Bordeaux Classification of 1855, where châteaux were graded on their quality, price and reputation, as requested by Emperor Napoleon III.
Currently Emirates offers 36 different varieties of French wines and Champagnes onboard its aircraft.
Emirates’ prestigious criteria for wine selection
Emirates’ stringent criteria for wine selection includes a highly detailed process, choosing wines that are known to excel both on the ground and at altitude, continually testing the results. Key factors considered include fruit content, acidity, tannin levels, and the influence of oak. Equally crucial to Emirates is the wine’s maturity, which directly impacts tannin levels. Many of the selected wines are crafted to be enjoyed after significant ageing and Emirates’ cellar includes wines that date back to the 2003 vintage. Bordeaux wines designated for Business Class undergo a minimum ageing period of 8-10 years, while those for First Class receive a minimum of 12-15 years of ageing, all of which occur in professional facilities in France. Wines are selected when they are ready to be served onboard and strategically positioned worldwide. As part of its Fly Better promise, Emirates goes to great lengths to ensure that customers can savour wines at their peak.
World class wines for every cabin class
Each of Emirates’ four cabins features a distinct wine selection, which is updated every two weeks to ensure frequent flyers are always enjoying variety.
In Economy Class, Emirates offers one red and one white wine, both of exceptionally high quality. Recent additions include ‘AOP’ and ‘Biodynamic’ wines from M. Chapoutier, Domaines Baron de Rothschild, a South African Sauvignon Blanc from sustainability champion, Gabb family and Antinori Santa Cristina red wine. The AOP is a European Union (EU) standard similar to the French AOC system in that it emphasises the wines’ geographical origin and specific production methods. Biodynamic winemaking emphasises holistic, sustainable farming and minimal post-harvest intervention, creating wines known for their pronounced terroir expression.
In Premium Economy, Emirates serves sparkling vintage wine, premium red, and premium white wine. Examples include Château La Garde 2011, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and Domaine Chandon 2016 – a sparkling wine that is exclusive in the sky to Emirates Premium Economy.
In Business and First Class, Emirates tailors its wine selections into six regions: the UK and USA, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Australasia, and Asia. This approach allows Emirates to offer wines closely aligned with the taste preferences of passengers from these regions, and allows travellers to sample outstanding wines from the regions they will be visiting. Emirates also offers premium Port wines, including vintage Tawny Ports such as the 1979 Graham’s and the 1981 from Dow’s.
Since 2006, Emirates has invested more than USD 1 billion into its wine programme. In 2022, Emirates also invested USD 2 billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive programme to retrofit over 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of initiatives including new fine dining menus, crafted vegan dishes, a Movie Snacks menu, unlimited caviar in First Class and a specialised hospitality training programme for cabin crew, helping them create memorable moments for customers.