Cellars in the sky

Frequent fliers are frequent wine drinkers, according to a study done by American Airlines. As a result, many carriers are upgrading their wine lists, especially in business and first class. “Our business class passengers dine in some of the finest restaurants in the world; they have very discriminating tastes and expect only the finest wines,” says Continental Airlines spokesperson Sarah Anthony.

US Airways (www.usair.com) introduced a new selection of wines in November, adding wines from France, Italy, Germany and California. Regional wines are served on select international routes.

How does an airline pick wines? In-flight dining services select for some carriers, while others, such as American, rely on a wine expert. Purdue University’s Richard Vine has chosen wines for the airline since 1985. Currently, American is offering French and California table wines and vintage Champagne. Check out American’s Vineyards in the Sky selections before flying at www.aa.com.

Continental (www.flycontinental.com)chooses its wine list by executive committee. Food and wine tasting sessions are held with upper management before each menu change. A bottle of wine in-flight, including champagne, averages about $11.

But remember to drink plenty of water, too. Salud!

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