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Qantas First Class wine imbibing

Finest wines in the skies awarded

Finnair and Icelandair were among 33 airlines competing in the Cellars in the Sky 2018 awards, now in their 33rd year.

The finest wines in the world’s skies have been awarded by Business Traveller magazine, from first-class whites, reds and sparkling wines to dessert wines and airline ‘cellars’.

Now in their 33rd year, the Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2018 Awards recognise the best business-class and first-class wines served by airlines worldwide over the last year.

Blind tastings of 240 bottles took place at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, in December, with four judges independently scoring the wines over the course of two days.

The awards were presented earlier this week at The Langham, a five-star luxury hotel in central London, by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the influential competition the International Wine Challenge.

Qantas was the evening’s biggest winner, taking the coveted Gold Medal for Best Overall Cellar, as well as the top spots in the Best First Class Cellar, Best First Class White, Best-Presented First Class Wine List, and Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine categories.

Deploying excellent Australian wines throughout, the flag carrier also won Best First Class Sparkling jointly with Air France and Cathay Pacific.

Cathay won two Gold Medals, its second win being for Best Business Class Red, while Malaysia Airlines took the top spot in the Best First Class Red category.

ANA won the award for Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, and Qatar Airways took top spot in the Best Business Class Sparkling category.

Oneworld was named Best Airline Alliance for wines, while one of its member carriers British Airways scooped the Gold Medal for Best Business Class Cellar.

But it wasn’t all legacy carriers winning the awards. US low-cost carrier JetBlue won a Gold Medal in the Cellars in the Sky competition for the first time, coming top in the Best Business Class White category.

Business Traveller contacted airlines about participating in the awards last summer and 33 entered, including Finnair and Icelandair, but not SAS.

The rest were Aegean, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Aircalin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Italy, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Iberia, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, TAP Air Portugal and Virgin Atlantic.

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