Qantas Is Offering Wine Tastings… In Economy!

Qantas takes wine seriously, and specifically Australian wines. They’re one of the largest purchasers of Australian wines in the world, and use that as an opportunity to showcase what Australia has to offer.

On top of that, Qantas is in the process of training many of their flight attendants as sommeliers, so they can better assist passengers with their wine selection.

But it looks like they’re taking it a step further, and are offering wine tastings… not just in first and business class, but also in economy!

This program doesn’t seem to be “official,” in the sense that it’s not offered on every flight, but rather it’s something you have to ask about. Per The Wine Wankers:

You heard right, Qantas’ Sommelier in the Sky program has a little secret almost nobody knows about; that is, until now!  During long haul flights, the airline’s sommeliers are more than happy to whisk passengers away from their seat and give them a private wine tasting in the galley, featuring wines being served on board that day.  Business Class and First Class only?!  Think again; even Economy Class passengers can ask for this ‘off the menu’ service.

Time permitting, the sommelier will take you through a series of wines in a blind tasting where they will impart their vast knowledge.

Here’s a video the writer of the story has with one of the sommeliers (if I hadn’t seen it, I might not believe that this is actually a thing):

It would be nice if the program were formalized a bit, because it seems a bit awkward to request a wine tasting in economy when a few flight attendants have to look after 400 passengers. At the same time, perhaps it’s best kept as a secret, or else you’ll have 400 people wanting to partake in the wine tasting as a way of passing time. 😉

This is such a fantastic idea, though. Even in first and business class I don’t know of many airlines that offer a formal wine tasting. Qantas does offer a tasting menu with wine pairing, but that’s still a bit different than a wine tasting.

I’ve certainly had crews go above and beyond and offer it one form or another under certain circumstances. For example, in Singapore Airlines Suites Class I’ve often been asked if I’d like to sample both the Dom and Krug.

Dom-vs-Krug

However, what Qantas is doing is much more interesting, since the tasting is being done by a sommelier who can provide some background and explain the nuances.

Would you like to see more airlines offer a wine tasting on flights?

Comments

  1. Wine tasting and drinking is there to distract from the boredom of flying and to add something interesting.
    Champagne, prominent in the post, is something that appeals to the pretentious end of the frequent flyer market: if they can see a label and know that it’s expensive, then they would swear it’s infinitely superior. However , often blind tasting suggests that even the experts find it hard to distinguish country of origin and variety let alone brand.
    Clever marketing by the French and the most expensive champagne appeals to the clueless snobs who value something by price.
    As for the non-sparkling table wines: WELL-MADE wine from Australia, NZ, USA, Chile, SA, Spain, Italy, Germany , even the UK and others, is just as good as the French, at less than half the cost.

  2. @Paolo: Have to agree with you that many people that write on travel blogs (both bloggers and the ones commenting) have no clue about wine and champagne and would fail miserably in a blind tasting. However, when they see a label saying “Krug” or “Don Perignon” they being served on business and first class they believe they were born a sommelier. There is so much more into a good wine and sparkling wine than just the label and perception of status but….

  3. Not a wine drinker myself..prefer my Bloody Mary’s, or Vodka & Sprite, but I think it is a good concept.

  4. It is true that many of us (Lucky included) are googling up served bottles to know the price and then judge the airline for that. I think that’s a fair practice. What would be more shameful than having the lack of a palate to differentiate between a $5 vs a $500 bottle of bubbly (looking at you, China Southern Duc de Whatever) is letting the airline get away with it for those that can taste and enjoy the difference even if you personally cannot.

  5. I’m no wine snob by any means, but even my untrained tastebuds can tell if I like the taste and feel of something or not. I’ve had a lot of champagne over the years, ranging from the very expensive to the cheap and cheerful, and if there is one thing I know it is that taste is very individual and not always static. Some expensive champagnes taste bad to me, but some great (ditto the cheap and cheerful) – and sometimes past favourites will vary in taste to me.

    There are a lot of factors when you really consider it, so the simplest thing is to boil it down to this:
    It it tastes good, drink it, and if it doesn’t – don’t. Same rule for any drink really.

  6. Well not a wine person and plus I can’t drink for nuts! May a glass at most – occasionally. Most importantly all that boost I wonder how folks manage it at 35,000 feet – all that dehydration! I am amazed even the frequent flyer can drink that much. Maybe because I am Asian – not sure. But one things for sure – it does not help in your jet lag and certainly affects your health.

  7. Sounds exciting, but dont forget its economy class wine, e.g. the <10$ bottles at the local bottle-O. At least in Australia, every wineyard will offer a much better selection and experience for free.

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