Selection Process - Qantas Inflight

At the heart of the Qantas Inflight Wine Program is being able to offer a selection of wine that will exceed our customer's expectations.

Quality is the focus of the Qantas Wine Program. Qantas looks to showcase wines that are not only Australia's finest but are world-class wines.


How Wines Are Selected

Qantas selects wine for inflight service using a combination of regular and rigorous tasting sessions as well as the constant monitoring of new wines, new winemakers and growing trends.

The Qantas Wine Panel meets several times a year to review wine for selection. It is the wines that rise to the top in these very competitive tasting sessions that form the core of the Qantas Wine Program.

Selection process:

  1. Wine submissions that are received through this website are initially evaluated from a customer perspective. Is this wine suitable for service to Qantas First and Business customers? Is the wine a positive representation of premium wine? Is it a benchmark example of its style?
  2. Wines are then reviewed by the Qantas Wine Panel. Wine is reviewed blind and scored under wine show conditions. Wines given a gold or high silver go to the next stage of evaluation.
  3. Wines are then considered for 'drinkabilty'. Although a wine may receive a high score when blind tasted and may technically be a good wine we also look for a wine that is drinking well. Will our customers enjoy it? Also, will the wine present well under flying conditions.
  4. The wines approved by the Wine Panel are then reviewed commercially. What volume of this wine is available? What is the price? And so on.


Wine Styles

The Wine Panel looks for wines that are not too alcoholic, acidic, tannic or soft. A fresh wine with a balanced intensity of fruit is favoured.

  • Fresh fruit.
  • Varietal typicity and regionality. Is it a benchmark example of its style?
  • Elegance and balance.
  • Not too alcoholic, acidic, tannic or soft.
  • No sediment due to the rigours of air travel.
  • Nice clean wines that have been well made and present with a strong fruit character.
  • Oak flavours are acceptable but strong oak undesirable.
  • Drinking well at time of service.
  • And... simply, is it a nice drink? Will our customers enjoy drinking it?


General Requirements

Before you submit a wine, please ensure you have adequate quantities to sell to Qantas should the wine be selected.

Wine is generally consumed within 12 months so approachability is a priority.

Wines should not be overexposed or heavily discounted in retail outlets.

Wine label and wine name must be inoffensive.


Cork versus screw cap

  • Screw cap is the preferred bottle closure however cork may be considered.


Bottle Selection

  • Lighter bottles are preferred over heavier bottles.
  • Dessert and Fortified wines cannot be in tall thin bottles as they are not stable enough on the beverage trolley as it is wheeled into the cabin.


Pricing

Quotes to be:

  • Australian dollars.
  • Excluding all taxes.
  • Free Into Store to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
  • Include labelling for Qantas requirement.

When forming your quotation, please consider the following:

  • Wine is not sold to our customers so your pricing is not disclosed to the market. Qantas does not discount your product to move stock. A competitive price will not devalue your brand.
  • Quantity prices.
  • High profile wine list, market exposure.


Supply Volumes

While logistics and operational requirements have long restricted airlines to purchasing large bulk lots, Qantas has been working hard to become much more nimble and now has highly sophisticated processes in place that allow us to purchase many small parcels of the very best wine from many and varied producers.

Minimum is one pallet.

For rare and limited availability wines, Qantas can purchase less than a pallet.


Premium, Boutique and Limited Edition Wine

While the majority of the wine purchased for Qantas is purchased in pallet lots, there is opportunity for wine produced in limited quantity to feature in Qantas First or Qantas Business.

Finding small, quality-obsessed producers who explore a variety's full potential is a real focus for Qantas and drives a diverse inflight wine offering.


Flying Conditions

Wine tastes different in the air - cabin conditions (altitude and low humidity) tend to accentuate a wine's acidity, alcohol and tannins whilst dulling a wine's aroma, potentially making good wines appear unbalanced inflight.

Recognition of soft fruit and citrus flavours are somewhat reduced, riper red berried fruit flavours are not so impacted.

If a wine is too young it can seem hard, so semi-mature wines are sought.

The rigours of flying are not kind to wine that has developed sediment in the bottle.


What the Qantas Wine Panel says:

Tom: "It's a little different to wine show judging because we're not just trying to award some arbitrary measure of quality. We're looking for wines that have that 'wow' factor and immediate drinkability on the ground and in the air."

Steve: "Because Qantas is an icon, people are going to look for iconic wines they know and respect onboard, and we want to give them that. But at the same time we also look for new and exciting styles that are emerging and keep Qantas customers in front of the pack."

Vanya: "We need to be looking for wines that are drinking well now and will show well on the plane as well as being benchmark examples of their style."