Once you’ve arrived home from a holiday, unpacked the bags, distributed the gifts and done the washing it really takes no time at all to slide back into the daily routine of work and chores. In the light of this, on Tuesday I was pretty pleased to find myself sitting at a table at Adelaide’s Press* Food and Wine, in the company of some remarkable winemakers and their products to help Australia’s Qantas Airways celebrate a truly significant achievement. On Monday evening (our time) the internationally prestigious “Cellars in the Sky” awards were announced. These awards recognise the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide and this year Australia’s carrier Qantas absolutely scooped the pool, winning top honours in six separate categories and placing second in five others.
It’s no secret that Qantas has had some reputation repair to be done of late, but these awards mark a decidedly notable accomplishment and go a long way towards further cementing the reputation of Australian wine in the eyes of the international community. The Qantas wine program is led by an expert panel of wine industry judges and respected winemakers, Tom Carson of Yabby Lake, Vanya Cullen of Cullen Wines and South Australia’s Stephen Pannell of S.C. Pannell. The program is a brilliant showcase of the diversity and quality of the Australian wine industry and is on display to what is basically a captive audience over very long flights – giving the consumers plenty of opportunity to get to know the best wine that Australia produces.
Admittedly, there are precious few of us who will ever smell the heady nose of a wine in first class, but I was very lucky to be able to enjoy a few of them on the day, along with some of Press’ finest dishes. We were served a significant selection of some formidable Australian wines, including selections from Tyrrells, Yabby Lake, Mount Langi Ghiran and Cullen with my absolute favourites being the drop-dead gorgeous Tyrrell’s 2005 Vat 1 Hunter Semillon and the very sophisticated Woodlands Margaret River 2007 “Nicolas” Cabernet Sauvignon – both way to good to spit.
If you are interested in purchasing the same wines as those enjoyed in first class you can become a member of epiQure by Qantas Frequent Flyer and have access to the top quality Australian wine selected by the Qantas Wine Panel.