New ‘World’s Best Airline For Wine’ Anointed

Singapore Airlines has been given the title of Best Overall Cellar at the Cellars in the Sky awards 2021. The awards were announced in February. This is the third time Singapore Airlines has won the gold medal for Best Overall Cellar, having previously taken out the rankings in both 2015 and 2018.

Singapore Airlines netted 12 awards in total at the event, including six gold medals for Best First Class White, Best First Class Red, Best First Class Cellar, Best Business White, Best Business Class Cellar and Best Overall Cellar.

Australian wines were a big part of Singapore Airlines’ success, with Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz 2015 (from Canberra) getting the gold medal for Best First Class Red, and Giant Steps Chardonnay 2018 (from the Yarra Valley) getting gold for Best Business White .

Singapore Airlines was also a runner up in the Best Business Red category (for Lionheart of the Barossa 2017), and the Best Business Class Fortified category (for Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat NV).

Singapore Airlines has focused on its wine for quite some time. It was the first carrier in the world to have a dedicated wine panel selecting its wine list, for instance, which it introduced all the way back in 1989.

Singapore Airlie’s “next gen” business class dining. Image Credit: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines’ international wine panel is made up of Michael Hill Smith MW (Australia), Oz Clarke (UK) and Jeannie Cho Lee MW (Hong Kong).

“Together they taste over one thousand New World and Old World, white and red wines, Champagnes, and ports for the Airline each year, before recommending those to be served in all classes and on all routes flown by SIA,” Singapore Airlines says.

Speaking of their latest awards, Singapore Airlines Divisional Vice President Inflight Services & Design Betty Wong said the airline was honored to have their inflight wine choices recognised.

“When we last participated in 2019 we earned six awards, so to double our wins this year is a significant improvement,” Ms Wong said.

“SIA has always sought to create a five-star gourmet dining experience for our customers, and we are proud to have our wine selections recognised as the best in the airline industry.”

“As we welcome our customers back on board, we will continue investing in fine wines and special pours to bring our service to a new level.”

Betty Wong

Singapore Airlines wine expert, Michael Hill Smith MW, said: “SIA and my fellow Wine Consultants, Jeannie Cho Lee MW and Oz Clarke, are thrilled with this year’s Business Traveler Cellar in the Sky results which included Best Business Class Cellar, Best First Class Cellar and Best Overall Cellar.”

“We offer a wonderful selection of global fine wine and Australia has always played an important and well-deserved role in this.

“I was particularly pleased to see 2018 Giant Steps Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley win Best Business Class White and 2015 Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz from Canberra District win Best First Class Red.”

“Both are excellent examples of diversity and sheer quality of Australian wine that are turning heads internationally.”

Michael Hill Smith MW

Singapore Airlines Director of Food and Beverage Antony McNeil said: “Being recognised as having the Best Cellar in the sky is a significant achievement and was made possible through the dedication of our Inflight Services Food & Beverage team and SIA Wine Consultants.”

“The dedication of the entire team to taste hundreds of wine varieties, and using their experience and expertise, nominate only the best for pouring on board, to ensure they were of optimum quality for the Cellars in the Sky judging panel, is commendable.”

McNeil added: “The awards and ultimately the recognition is justification for the time and effort put in, but also reinforces our strong commitment to ensuring SIA’s wine program is continually pushing the boundaries to meet the highest standards for all our inflight offerings.”

The Cellars in the Sky awards, run by Business Travelerhave been going for 36 years now, and Recognise the best Business and First Class wines served by airlines. Airlines enter by sending their selected wines to a panel of wine experts, who judge the winning wines through a blind tasting.

The judges for the 2021 awards were: Masters of Wine Peter McCombie (Head Judge), Sarah Abbott and Sam Caporn, and winemaker John Worontschak.

In other Cellars in the Sky awards news, Korean Air won gold medals in the Best First Class Sparkling and Best First Class Fortified categories, Qatar Airways (last year’s overall winner) took out the Best First Class Rosé, Eva Air got gold for Best Business Class Sparkling, LATAM won the Best Business Class Red category, Jetblue won the Best Business Class Rosé category, and TAP Air Portugal scooped Best Business Class Fortified.

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