Qantas is putting its selection of inflight and lounge wines into the hands of a new team of experts and mixologists from Neil Perry’s Rockpool Restaurant Group.
The Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers, to use the group’s formal name, replaces the Qantas Wine Panel in choosing the wines, champagne, spirits and other tipples served by the airline on the ground and at 40,000 feet.
That’s a job which is assuredly more difficult than it sounds, given that tasting sessions involve sampling over 1,000 Australian wines.
The sommeliers will be tasked with upholding Qantas’ winning streak in the annual Cellars in the Sky Awards, with nine medals at the 2015 event including Best First Class Sparkling for its Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000 and Best Business Class Fortified/Dessert for Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Classic Muscat.
The 16-strong team will also prepare tasting notes for Qantas’ international first class and domestic business class cabins, and conjure up monthly cocktails to be served at Qantas lounges.
Hopefully this will mean more fun concepts unleashed in the name of fizz, such as last month’s creation of the ‘Arch Angel’ cocktail built around Australian-distilled Four Pillars Gin to celebrate World Gin Day.
Qantas is the third largest purchaser of wine in Australia, with an annual bill exceeding $15 million.
“We are really proud to showcase Australian wine to the world, and we’ll keep supporting boutique Australian wineries as well as the iconic drops that have defined Australia’s global winemaking reputation,” says Gareth Evans, CEO Qantas International.
“Rockpool has worked with Qantas for over 18 years to design menus and we are thrilled to be working more closely to select beverages for the airline” adds Qantas Chef and restaurateur Neil Perry.
“We are committed to continue providing the finest Champagnes and the boldest wines from across Australia and deliver a restaurant experience on the ground and in the air."
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