This year luxury airline Emirates has more than doubled their spend on wine having spent a staggering €123m. The investment represents over 13 million bottles of wine which will be served to Emirates passengers in all cabins.
They will have to wait for a while though, as Emirates buy their exceptional wines en primeur, years before they are released to the market. They mature the wines in their own cellars, allowing them to reach their potential before they are served on board. Some of the collection will not be ready for consumption until 2025.
While most airlines source their wines through brokers or tenders, Emirates’ own team of wine connoisseurs has built direct relationships with some of the world’s most prestigious vineyards to handpick and secure the most exclusive and rare wines for its customers.
“Over the years, we’ve built a wine programme that has garnered the interest of exclusive vineyards and we are proud of the fact that our wine lists are comparable to what you might find in a top restaurant in the best cities around the world” said Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline. He added: “Many of our customers have expressed their surprise at the variety and quality of wines that Emirates offers on board, and they wonder how on earth we manage to procure such rare or exclusive vintages. The answer is long-term planning and investment.”
Since 2006, Emirates has invested around €607m in their wines. The Emirates wine cellar, the largest of any airline, currently stores 2.2 million bottles of vintage wines.
The majority of wine purchased this year for First and Business Class came from the Bordeaux region, including a new focus on white wines. For the first time Emirates has purchased wines such as Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux, the white wine variant of Château Margaux, as well as vintages of La Clarté de Haut-Brion – known to be rare and exclusive due to its small scale production. Other white Bordeaux wines that will be added to the airline’s wine list include Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Château Malartic-Lagravière.
Emirates has also placed great importance on wines from Burgundy and purchases directly from exclusive Grand cru vineyards such as Chevalier-Montrachet, Charmes-Chambertin and Échezeaux. The airline’s long standing relationships with wine producers has meant access to some of the most rare and exclusive wines. From the Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru region alone, considered to be amongst the finest of Burgundy’s white wines, Emirates purchased 2,000 cases in 2015 – equivalent to 10% of the total production in the region.
Other recent additions to the Emirates wine cellar include fine Italian wines such as Solaia and Ornellaia for First Class and the highly in-demand Super Tuscan wine Tignanello which will be added to the Business Class offering in the coming years.
Emirates now has 70 different champagnes, wines and ports on its flights on an average day in all classes across its international network of over 150 destinations.