Did you know airlines are judged on their inflight wine selections? I didn’t but I do love having wine on a plane. Not only are they “judged” on the wine selections but they’re given an award for their list of wine. The annual Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky awards, which recognizes the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide was recently announced. If you’re looking to enjoy a nice glass of wine or bubbles on your next trip, take a look at this winners as they’re bound to have a first class bottle for you.

wine on a plane

Best Overall Wine Cellar
1. Qantas
2. Emirates
3. (JOINT) El-Al, Cathay Pacific


Best First Class Red
1. Emirates – 2005 Clarendon Hills Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
2. British Airways – 2007 Napanook, Napa Valley, California
3. Emirates – 2000 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France

Best First Class White
1. Qantas – 2009 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia
2. TAM Airlines – 2009 Dr Bürklin-Wolf Pechstein Grand Cru, Pfalz, Germany
3. (JOINT) El-Al – 2012 Yarden Viognier, Galilee, Golan Heights, Israel; Malaysia Airlines – 2011 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany

Best First Class Sparkling
1. Qantas – 2000 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, France
2. (JOINT) Korean Air – 1998 Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé, Champagne, France; Singapore Airlines – 2004 Dom Pérignon, Champagne, France
3. American Airlines – Gosset Grande Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Best First Class Fortified/Dessert 
1. El-Al – 2011 Yarden Heights Gewurztraminer Late Harvest, Golan Heights, Galilee, Israel
2. Qantas – Seppeltsfield Paramount Rare Tokay NV, Australia
3. (JOINT) All Nippon Airways – W.& J. Graham’s 30 Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal; TAM Airlines – 2005 Croft Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal

Best First Class Cellar
1. Qantas
2. All Nippon Airways
3. British Airways

Best-Presented First Class Wine List
1. Qatar Airways
2. Qantas
3. Singapore Airlines


Best Business Class Red
1. Cathay Pacific – 2008 Murray Street White Label Barossa Shiraz, Australia
2. Qantas – 2011 Best’s Great Western Bin One Shiraz, Victoria, Australia
3. (JOINT) Etihad Airways – 2010 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia; Finnair – 2012 Atteca Vieilles Vignes, Calatayud, Spain

Best Business Class White 
1. Eva Air – 2010 Vincent Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy, France
2. Cathay Pacific – 2009 Taylors Chardonnay, Clare Valley, Australia
3. Air Canada – 2013 Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Best Business Class Sparkling
1. Eva Air – 2004 Dom Pérignon, Champagne, France
2. (JOINT) All Nippon Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines – NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne, France; Emirates – 2004 Veuve Clicquot, Champagne, France
3. American Airlines – 2008 Moutard, Champagne, France

Best Business Class Fortified/Dessert
1. Emirates – Graham’s 20 Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal
2. Qantas – 2008 Lillypilly Noble Blend Family Reserve, New South Wales, Australia
3. Austrian Airlines – 2010 Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese, Neusiedlersee, Austria

Best Business Class Cellar
1. Qantas
2. Etihad Airways
3. Cathay Pacific

Best-Presented Business Class Wine List
1. Air New Zealand
2. Qatar Airways
3. Finnair

Best Airline Alliance For Wine

Have you traveled on these airlines lately? Tried the wine on a plane you’re traveling on?

Elaine Schoch

Elaine N. Schoch

Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.


  1. I had no idea that airlines were judged on this, fascinating! I was glad to see a CA wine making the list and not surprised it was a 2007, that was a good year. It’s funny that I completely pay attention to what wine I’m ordering in a restaurant but don’t even think to ask on an airplane. I will from now on! 🙂

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