The best tipples at 35,000 ft

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Australian carrier Qantas has the world's best on-board wine selection, according to the Cellar in the Sky Awards presented February 9.

The airline took four awards, including Best First Class Red Wine (Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2005), Best First Class Fortified / Sweet Wine (Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Tokay), Best First Class Cellar, and Best Presented Wine List.

Its parent Oneworld Alliance also took the prize for Best Airline Alliance, beating Star Alliance in second place and Sky Team in third.

Best First Class White went to Brazil-based TAM for their Michel Picard Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumeaux 2006, whilst the best First Class Sparkling was awarded to German airline Lufthansa for the Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Rare it serves on board.

In Business Class, American carrier Delta won the Best Sparkling with the Piper-Heidsieck Brut it serves and Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific took Best Business Class Red with its Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2007. Sweden-based SAS was presented with Best Business Class White for the Australian Tim Adams Semillon 2007, whilst Lufthansa won Best Fortified/Sweet with the Portuguese Vinhos Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage 2004. Cathay Pacific had the best Business Class Cellar overall.

Charles Metcalfe, a British TV host and Chairman of the International Wine Challenge, presented the awards, praising the broadening cellars on board today's aircraft.

"Airlines are having to be more creative with their wine choices," said Metcalfe. "Rather than choosing an expensive and well-known label, they are choosing lesser-known but much more interesting wines."

The Business Traveller Cellar in the Sky competition has been running since 1985 to determine the highest quality fine wines available in Business and First Class on board the world's flights. The jury, which was composed of Metcalfe and four other wine critics, judged entries from 34 airlines to choose the winners.

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky Awards 2009

Business Class Sparkling - Delta (Piper-Heidsieck Brut, Champagne, France)
Business Class Red - Cathay Pacific (Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand)
Business Class White - SAS (Tim Adams Semillon 2007, Clare Valley, Australia)
Business Class Fortified / Sweet - Lufthansa (Vinhos Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage 2004, Douro, Portugal)

First Class Sparkling - Lufthansa (Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Rare, Champagne, France)
First Class Red - Qantas (Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2005, Canberra, Australia)
First Class White - TAM (Michel Picard Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumeaux 2006, Burgundy, France)
First Class Fortified/ Sweet - Qantas (Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Tokay, Rutherglen, Australia)

Best Business Class Cellar
1. Cathay Pacific
2. LAN
3. Qatar Airways
4. American Airlines
5. British Airways

Best First Class Cellar
1. Qantas
2. American Airlines
3. Qatar Airways
4. British Airways
5. Cathay Pacific

Best-presented Wine List
1. Qantas
2. Air New Zealand
3. JOINT: ANA, Qatar Airways

Consistency of Wines across Business and First Class
1. Qatar Airways
2. JOINT: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific
3. Qantas
4. British Airways
5. ANA

Best Airline Alliance
1. Oneworld
2. Star Alliance
3. Skyteam

Data from Business Traveller Cellar in the Sky Awards
Website:
http://www.businesstraveller.com/

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