Qantas mixologists tap new wines, champagne and cocktails

By David Flynn, July 8 2015
Qantas mixologists tap new wines, champagne and cocktails

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."

Also read: Behind the wine list at the Qantas First Lounge

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 58

I hope they keep the Taittinger C de C in F - a superb Champagne that seems more forgiving of altitude than Dom or Krug (to my palate at least). The selection of reds in that cabin may benefit from an overhaul, however - I have found the offerings to be relatively inconsistent, with far too few of our top red wines on offer. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2015

Total posts 57

I absolutely agree, the Taittinger Blancs de Blancs is fantastic. There is a reason it has consistently taken out the Cellars in the Sky 'Best First Class Sparkling' award in recent years (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), over Dom, Moët, Veuve and Laurent Perrier I might add. However, it is a shame that Qantas does not seem to serve it consistently, instead alternating between the Taittinger, Pol Roger SWC and Veuve La Grand Dame.

In regards to replacing the Qantas Wine Panel with the Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers, I like this move. Some people may see it as consolidating or cost cutting, however, I see it as staying ahead and staying fresh. Why fix something when it ain't broke? In order to stay top or ahead, you need to innovate. Staying top is equally as hard as getting there in the first place. Add to this the fact that the wines at Rockpool always superbly complement the food and this should ensure a successful change.

All the hipsters from Brunswick are in those photos.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Dec 2014

Total posts 5

Yes, I agree with Stefan and trevor2, the Taittinger Blanc des Blancs is excellent but although it's still listed on their wine list, it doesn't get served.  The Winston Churchill was replacing it for awhile but on my most recent flights I've been served Veuve's La Grand Dame which, even though it's top of that maison's range, is still Agent Orange.  Qantas, bring back the Taitt!!! 

And again I agree with Stefan that the red selection in First leaves a lot to be desired.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas mixologists tap new wines, champagne and cocktails