Airlines have been feeling the pressure to up their game when it comes to food and drinks offered in-flight, with many companies enlisting the help of gourmet chefs and wine connoisseurs. Delta Airlines just joined the ranks of those like Air New Zealand (who have a food and wine list overseen by some of the best in the country) and got a whole lot classier with its "Winemaker Series," which began on Sept. 1.
Offered to BusinessElite flyers on trans-con flights connecting New York with Los Angeles and San Francisco, the "Winemaker Series" is made up of hand-selected California wines that represent the state's best wine-makers. Delta brought their in-flight partner Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson (who has worked on their wine menu since February 2008) on the program, putting her in charge of curating the new wine menu and allowing her to hand-pick the best California winemakers to be featured in air. Each chosen wine will be offered onboard for two months at a time, also giving flyers the chance to purchase a bottle and have it shipped to their home.
"I am delighted about this opportunity to share some of my favorite wines," said Robinson. "The Delta Winemaker Series features juicy, silky and refreshing taste profiles, and all translate well on the palate at 30,000 feet. I expect Delta's customers will be impressed by the quality and variety of wine as these winemakers and their vintages are among the best of California and, most importantly, they taste delicious in flight."
Travelers are privy to a unique experience that includes a gourmet three-course menu from Napa-based chef Michael Chiarello, each food choice paired expertly with the wine menu, which launched just recently with Santa Barbara-based Inception Wines (including a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Jonathan Hirsh and George Pitsironis). Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa offers their Equilibrium Fume Blanc and Merlot from Director of Winemaking Genevieve Janssens, and as one of California's first female winemakers, Merry Edwards brings a Sauvignon Blanc. Charles Krug Winery will lend a Napa Valley Merlot from Peter Mondavi, Dave Miner (Miner Family Winery) is featured with his "Simpson Vineyard" Viognier 2011, and lastly, Heidi Peterson-Barrett of La Sirena in Napa will show a special Syrah.
"We know our transcon customers have great taste and discerning palates. This program is a natural way to further enhance their in-flight experience," said Gail Grimmett, Delta's senior vice president in New York. "The Delta Winemakers Series, combined with Wi-Fi on every flight, new cabin interiors with seat back in-flight entertainment, BusinessElite cradle seats for a comfortable sleep, and special menus designed by Napa-based chef Michael Chiarello, offers a unique cross-country flight experience for our customers."
Before you hop on a Delta flight to take advantage of their new "Winemaker Series," you should check out our exclusive interview with Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, who talks about her love for the program and her journey to the esteemed Master Sommelier title.