The Australian national carrier Qantas has been crowned as the airline with the world's best flying wine cellars.

Qantas scooped first place in six of the categories judged in the Sky Awards, including the top title of best overall wine list for 2018.

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific was the runner-up, with Qatar Airways and All Nippon Airways tied for third place in the coveted wine awards for first and business Class offerings.

Air New Zealand also picked up two silver medals in the categories of best business class red (Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago) and best business class fortified/dessert wine (Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2016, Wairau Valley).

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For jet-set sommeliers looking for a bargain, British Airways won best business blass wine list.

However, it was Qantas who was the toast of the town.

The Australian carrier took first place in best first class white, best first class cellar, best first class wine list, best fortified/desert wine in business and the best first class sparkling – serving passengers Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006.

"We're really proud to once again be awarded for our wine," said Neil Perry, Qantas's Creative Director of Food, Beverage & Service.

Qantas's winelist was chosen by a team of sixteen including master sommeliers Sebastian Crowther and Jonathan Ross, aimed at portraying as much of Australia's diverse wine culture as possible.

"Together with the Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers, the Qantas beverage team work hard to select the finest Australian wines," said Perry.


The awards are judged out of 14 categories covering reds, whites and the all-important best champagne in the skies.

33 airlines entered their premium wine choices to The Cellars in the Sky Awards, which are run by Business Traveller.

It was the job of four judges to blind taste test each individual wine – a task that took two days in December last year at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

Eventually the panel of judges emerged with their gold, silver and bronze placed airlines for all fourteen categories.

Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 2006 was the winning first-class champagne. Photo / Getty Images
Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 2006 was the winning first-class champagne. Photo / Getty Images

It wasn't all high-fare long-haul carriers which won the awards. It's worth special mention that the US budget airline JetBlue won gold in the Best Business Class White category, serving Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Californian Chardonnay 2015.

FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES

FIRST CLASS

BEST FIRST CLASS RED

Gold Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune 2015, Burgundy, France
Silver Medal: American Airlines – Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2016, Sonoma County, US
Bronze Medal (joint): ANA – Château Léoville Barton 2012, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France; Qatar Airways – Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2009, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France

BEST FIRST CLASS WHITE

Gold Medal: Qantas – Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A Chardonnay 2015, Adelaide Hills, Australia
Silver Medal: Qantas – Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2016, Margaret River, Australia
Bronze Medal (joint): Cathay Dragon – Lamblin and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes, 2016, France; Malaysia Airlines – Palliser Estate Chardonnay 2016, Martinborough, New Zealand

BEST FIRST CLASS SPARKLING

Gold Medal (joint): Air France, Cathay Pacific, Qantas –Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006, Franc
Silver Medal (joint): ANA, Qatar Airways – Champagne Krug 2004, France; Singapore Airlines – Dom Pérignon 2006, Champagne, France
Bronze Medal: Oman Air –Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, Brut, 2009, France

BEST FIRST CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT WINE

Gold Medal: ANA – Barbeito Madeira Malvasia 20 year old, Portugal
Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific – Warre's Otima Single Year Tawny Colheita Port 2006, Portugal
Bronze Medal: Qantas – Morris of Rutherglen Wines Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, Australia

BEST-PRESENTED FIRST CLASS WINE LIST

Gold Medal: Qantas
Highly Commended: ANA

BEST FIRST CLASS CELLAR

Gold Medal: Qantas
Silver Medal: ANA
Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific

BUSINESS CLASS

BEST BUSINESS CLASS RED

Gold Medal: Cathay Pacific ¬– Elderton Shiraz 2015, Barossa Valley, Australia
Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand
Bronze Medal: Air Italy – Olianas Perdixi 2016, Gergei, Sardinia, Italy

BEST BUSINESS CLASS WHITE

Gold Medal: Jetblue – Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2015, California, US
Silver Medal: Aer Lingus – De Bortoli La Bohème Act One Riesling, 2016, Yarra Valley, Australia
Bronze Medal: Oman Air – Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Montagu 2016, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS SPARKLING

Gold Medal: Qatar Airways ¬– Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2006, France
Silver Medal: EVA Air – Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2007, Champagne, France
Bronze Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2007, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS FORTIFIED/ DESSERT WINE

Gold Medal: Qantas – Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Classic Muscat, Victoria, Australia
Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2016, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
Bronze Medal (joint): Oman Air – Château Guiraud 1er Grand Cru Classé en 1855, 2014, Sauternes-Barsac, France; Aeroflot – Grahams 10 Year Old Tawny Port, NV, Porto Duro, Portugal

BEST BUSINESS CLASS CELLAR

Gold Medal: British Airways
Silver Medal: Qatar Airways
Bronze Medal: Jetblue

BEST-PRESENTED BUSINESS CLASS WINE LIST

Gold Medal: EVA Air

OVERALL AWARDS

BEST AIRLINE ALLIANCE

•Oneworld

BEST OVERALL CELLAR

Gold Medal: Qantas
Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific
Bronze Medal: ANA, Qatar Airways
Highly Commended: American Airlines