I love to travel. I’m the person that gets a pit of excitement in my stomach, knowing I’m hours away from getting on an airplane. Once in the air, I’m happy to pass the hours, reading, watching a movie, or just looking at the clouds below.
While I’ve never associated the two, I also love wine, but understand that the wine served tens of thousands of feet above the ground–in coach class, that is–in those mini twist-off bottles is simply drinkable, at best, and nothing more. I’ll rarely spring the 5 bucks for a mediocre, miniature bottle of wine.
Part of the investment for first and business-class passengers must be the wine, because they are drinking a whole different calibre of beverage (full disclosure: I’ve been one of those passengers on two occasions. It’s really nice up there.) Chosen from a selection of several reds and whites, business class wine is poured from a traditional 750 ml bottle. No twist offs for those folks.
As a matter of fact, the wine chosen for business class passengers has become such big business that there are awards for the category–the Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Competition. According to Global Traveler, a magazine for business and luxury travelers, in the most recent competition, 26 airlines submitted 46 white wines, 49 red wines, and 23 champagne or sparkling wines currently on their international Business Class and North American premium class wine lists for a blind taste test. Global Traveler is the only U.S.-based publication to conduct such a survey in the United States (see 2011 competition results here).
But things are looking up for domestic-flying wine drinkers in economy class. Airlines have recently begun offering more interesting selections, as listed on the Bottlenotes blog. And if you’re really particular about your vineyard and vintage, bring your own on board. You’ll cruise right through security with your own 50 ml (1.7 oz) bottles from the TastingRoom’s wine samplers.
Cheers. And safe travels.