Emirates Invests $500 Million in a High-end Wine List
The company's stash of Dom Pérignon is just another element of luxury.
This story originally appeared on Foodandwine.com.
While first class flight accommodations have become increasingly luxurious in recent years, one airline has invested some major cash in developing a high-end wine list in the sky. Though many companies have made strides to offer large in-flight lounge and state-of-the-art design elements for those customers willing to shill out the big bucks to fly first class, Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, is setting out to become the chosen airline of wanderlust-filled wine connoisseurs everywhere.
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In the 12 years since Emirates' wine program began, the company has spent over $500 million to develop the world's most high-end, mile-high cellar, Bloomberg reports. According to Joost Heymeijer, Emirate's Senior Vice President Inflight Catering, there are typically 70 different wines circulating across the airline's network at any point, offering customers a rotating list of world-class vintages.
Over the course of a year, upwards of 300 vintages are served aboard the airline's flights, requiring a secure place to house the company's expansive collection until the bottles are ready to be uncorked. In order to protect and preserve the 3.75 million bottles in the airline's personal stash, they moved the collection into a nondescript group of warehouses in Burgundy, France, which Heymeijer calls “a Fort Knox-style facility,” complete with temperature-controlled and light-deprived accommodations.
Though an extensive wine list is sure to catch the eye of vino loving travelers, the company's stash of Dom Pérignon is just another element of luxury for Emirates, which already offers complimentary chauffer service to and from the airport in 70 cities for its business and first class passengers. Those flying first class also enjoy the comfort of private suites featuring a minibar and vanity table, and are able stay fresh with the help of an onboard shower spa. Now, that luxury is being taken to the next level with a wine list that would make many high-end restaurant envious.
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However, Emirates isn't the only airline stepping up their culinary game to compete in the crowded luxury flight field. Fiji Airways dishes out meals and specialty cocktails prepared by Fiji-based celebrity chef Lance Seeto, while Air France offers those flying La Premiere and Business class the cuisine of world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud—including dishes like Provençal lamb chop, sea bass in vine leaves, and Atlantic lobster. Qantas doles out eight-course tasting menus and has an inflight sommelier to suggest pairings, and LAN's award-winning wine list is hand-picked annually by South America's master somm, Hector Vergara.
On the off chance you're unlikely to foot the bill for these kinds of first-class accomodations—much less a $2,000 on-board bottle—you might be stuck with the standard airline meal service...unless you're flying British Airways, that is.