Qantas wins big at inflight wine awards

By David Flynn, February 4 2014
Qantas wins big at inflight wine awards

Qantas scooped the pool at the Cellars in the Sky Awards held in London overnight with five gold medals for inflight wine.

Three of the trophies recognised the airline's entire collection of wines with Best First Class Cellar, Best Business Class Cellar and the coveted Best Overall Wine Cellar award.

In the individual wine categories Qantas was awarded first place in Best First Class White Wine for Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2009 and first place in Best First Class Sparkling wine for Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000.

Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand were the winners of the Best-Presented First Class and Business Class Wine List awards respectively.

Here's how the winners lined up.

Best first class red

  • Gold Medal: Emirates – Clarendon Hills Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia
  • Silver Medal: British Airways – Napanook 2007, Napa Valley, California 
  • Bronze Medal: Emirates – Château Cos d’Estournel 2000, Saint-Estèphe, France

Best first class white

  • Gold Medal: Qantas – Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, 2009, Margaret River, Australia
  • Silver Medal: TAM Airlines – Dr Bürklin-Wolf Pechstein Grand Cru 2009, Pfalz, Germany
  • Bronze Medal (JOINT): El-Al – Yarden Viognier 2011, Galilee, Golan Heights, Israel; Malaysia Airlines – Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2011, Mosel, Germany

Best first class sparkling

  • Gold Medal: Qantas – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, 2000, France
  • Silver Medal (JOINT): Korean Air – Champagne Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé 1998, France; Singapore Airlines – Champagne Dom Pérignon 2004, France
  • Bronze Medal: American Airlines – Champagne Gosset Grande Réserve NV, France

Best first class fortified/dessert

  • Gold Medal: El-Al – Yarden Heights Gewurztraminer Late Harvest 2011, Golan Heights, Galilee, Israel
  • Silver Medal: Qantas – Seppeltsfield Paramount Rare Tokay NV, Australia
  • Bronze Medal (JOINT): All Nippon Airways – WJ Graham’s 30 Years Tawny Port, Portugal; TAM Airlines – Croft Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005, Portugal

Best first class cellar

  • Gold Medal: Qantas
  • Silver Medal: All Nippon Airways 
  • Bronze Medal: British Airways

Best-presented first class wine list

  • Gold Medal: Qatar Airways 
  • Silver Medal: Qantas
  • Bronze Medal: Singapore Airlines

Best business class red

  • Gold Medal: Cathay Pacific – Murray Street White Label Barossa Shiraz, 2008, Australia
  • Silver Medal: Qantas – Best’s Great Western Bin One Shiraz, 2011, Victoria, Australia
  • Bronze Medal (JOINT): Etihad Airways – Jim Barry, the Lodge Hill Shiraz, Clare Valley 2010, Australia; Finnair – Atteca Vieilles Vignes 2012, Calatayud, Spain

Best business class white

  • Gold Medal: Eva Air – Vincent Girardin Chassagne Montrachet Vieilles Vignes, 2010, Burgundy, France
  • Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific – Taylors Clare Valley Chardonnay 2009, Australia
  • Bronze Medal: Air Canada – Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Best business class sparkling

  • Gold Medal: Eva Air – Champagne Dom Pérignon, 2004, France
  • Silver Medal (JOINT): All Nippon Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines – Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV, France; Emirates – Champagne Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2004, France
  • Bronze Medal: American Airlines – Champagne Moutard Vintage 2008, France

Best business class red fortified/dessert

  • Gold Medal: Emirates – Graham's 20 Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal
  • Silver Medal: Qantas – Lillypilly Noble Blend Family Reserve 2008, New South Wales, Australia
  • Bronze Medal: Austrian Airlines – Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese 2010, Neusiedlersee, Austria

Best business class cellar

  • Gold Medal: Qantas 
  • Silver Medal: Etihad Airways 
  • Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific

Best-presented business class wine list

  • Gold Medal: Air New Zealand 
  • Silver Medal: Qatar Airways 
  • Bronze Medal: Finnair

Best overall wine cellar

  • Gold Medal: Qantas 
  • Silver Medal: Emirates 
  • Bronze Medal (JOINT): El-Al, Cathay Pacific

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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.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 May 2012

Total posts 76

Its good to see some good news about QANTAS, they are still a really good airline that many people dismiss (mostly Aussies!)  


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1519

Definitely not me. I would fly only Qantas if they would fly more destinations and fly cheap enough – currently they one of the most expensive carriers that force me to use inconvenient Dubai hub to fly Europe. But our recent trip to Europe by BA was included MEL-SIN by Qantas and let me tell you QF biz is better then BA and came dangerously close to BA First, especially in crew department. YMMV.

02 Dec 2011

Total posts 47

Great to see many Aussie wines. Off to epiqure to buy wine now :)


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

It's painful that the category is called "Best Fist Class Sparkling" when they list such wonderful champagnes. The title is more befitting for a United Airlines Veuve de Vernay, rather than the excellent Taittinger Comte de Champagne Blanc de Blanc.

I am surprised that TG and EK are not in the list, they serve the Dom Perignon 2003.

Also in the other categories there are some surprises, I would rate the Yara Yering No 2 Red which EK serves higher than the Clarendon Shiraz for instance. Goes to show that a lot comes down to personal preference / taste.

All in all well deserved recognition for QF though!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

Impressed that Eva Air serve Dom in Business Class.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

The last few times I was in F on QF I had Pol Roger SWC which, while very nice, is completely overshadowed by the excellence of the Taittinger.

Hopefully next time

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

Well deserved... The one thing Qantas definitely does do well is pick good wines!

QantasFF Platinum

16 Feb 2012

Total posts 153

Looks like they need a hand getting a decent red wine to be awarded for!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Oct 2013

Total posts 93

They do have some fantastic drops which I enjoy oh so much (who could say no to Tattinger?) - if only they were just a bit more consistent in serving them at the right temps!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Feb 2014

Total posts 2

Not surprised by the awards. The last time I flew Qantas (SYD to LHR return) the wine was amazing!

22 Jun 2013

Total posts 96

Absolutely no qualms with the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs taking out the Gold medal for 'Best First Class Sparkling.' It is sensational, second to none. However, my gripe is that it should be the one and only Champagne served in First onboard Qantas. And if they are going to have an inferior offering, Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill, which is good but simply not in the same ballpark at the Taittinger, then at least give the choice rather than only serving Pol Roger. If Qantas wishes to cut costs, absolutely fine, but then maybe First Class fares should see a proportionate decrease as well. It if were a one-off I wouldn't have an issue, however, it cannot be coincidence that I've encountered this issue three times in the last year on flights between London and Australia. I know two other people who have reported the same thing.


To conclude, absolutely no problem with the Taittinger taking out the Gold, in fact I'm all for it. It just seems a bit cheeky, 1. for Qantas to nominate the Taittinger to represent them in this category at the awards, 2. for Qantas to win and get all the plaudits when perhaps it's not all that indicative of the true Qantas First experience.


This is not Qantas bashing. As a proud Qantas Platinum I have a lot of love for Qantas and I would love for people to prove me wrong and share their experiences.



Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 69

I  must  say    that   while  the  singapore  Airlines  Business  Class   seats   and  service  are   fantastic,  the   wines   they  serve  in  Biz  are really   substandard

For   example  I  once   had  a  Tatachilla  Shiraz ,a  reasonable   wine   for   economy  but  not  for  the  Biz   cabin. It  sells   for   around   15  dollars!

Singapore   airlines   needs   to  realize  that  they   should   serve at  least  a   60  dollar  Shiraz  and  Pinot  Noir in  Biz   class  ,  after   all   the  Biz   traveller   is   usually   forking   out    around   6  or  7  Grand. Hope   you  pass  this  on   to  them.

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