Wines on the Wing Awards. While its name is not to be taken literally, it is a prestigious award ceremony that highlights some of the upper scale offerings of the world’s premium airlines.
And this year Singapore Airlines won. And they won big.
They did a clean sweep of every single major category, including:
- Best Wine, First Class
- Best Wine, Business Class
- Best Champagne, First Class (okay this was tied with British Airways, who serve the Pol Roger Vintage Winston Churchill Brut)
- Best Champagne, Business Class
It should be noted that for an airline to be eligible they need to submit two red and white wines each and at least one submission in the sparkling wine/champagne category. It’s no surprise that Singapore Airlines fared so well – they hold blind wine tastings with some of the world’s most famous sommeliers twice a year in Singapore, and First Class wines are purchased well in advance – 10 years to be precise – to ensure the wine is casked, bottled and stored properly in SQ’s vast wine cellars. Just for the sake of context, SQ’s Economy Class wines are procured 4 years in advance for similar reasons.
It’s crazy to think that so much thought and logistical planning has gone into something as benign as having a glass of wine on an airplane – but it does. And it’
s no mean feat that Singapore Airlines has swept these awards, especially in light of the fact that Emirates bought worldwide exclusivity on the 2005 Dom Perignon – as in the only place in the world you can have this bottle of champagne is up in the air – on an EK flight. But SQ still wins out on the sheer quality of their offerings – they serve the 2002 vintage of Dom.
SQ estimates that they serve about 5,700 bottles of wine a day across all their flights – which most likely necessitates a massive cellar at their home base in Changi. SQ also says that particular attention is paid towards the smell and taste of the wine – especially at 34,000 feet – but most importantly the wine is also judged on its compatibility with Asian cuisine, as the airline serves an Asian option during their meal service in all classes, on all flights regardless of stage length and time of day.
Given that SQ is the only airline in the world to offer both Dom Perignon and Krug on board, I reckon they pair well with any dish…Asian or not.
For what it’s worth, Delta and American won in these categories for North American carriers. North American based Star fliers – sorry you’re stuck with United’s Jacob’s Creek and Air Canada’s God Knows What, 2018 future vintage.