Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Airline Wine

Interesting article on Airline Wine in the Monterey Herald (by way of Miami).

Truth is, airlines never pay full price (even wholesale price) for their wine. They take advantage of "problem wines" from wineries that produced too much, have old vintages being bumped by newer ones, or just plain poor-quality wines. Wineries go through the brokers or buyers described in the article to force wineries to compete for the placements (supply & demand drives the prices down here). Sometimes you can end up with a steal, other times you get a brett-laden stinkbomb.

I would point out however, that flight attendants will generally look the other way if you quietly open your own bottle (think screwcap!) and don't make an ass of yourself. Offering to share with your neighbors never hurt either....


Anonymous Steve-o said...

I would point out that to do so would be a violation of Federal law, so be careful. You can bring your own wine and avoid potential legal trouble if you can convince the flight attendant to open it for you (again, screwtop is the way to go).

November 01, 2005 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So one can carry the bottle, and pour from the bottle, but not open the bottle? That's kind of odd.

November 01, 2005 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Steve-o said...

Indeed - the law is worded such that it is illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage that wasn't opened by a flight attendant.

From the Aug. 12, 2005 Wine Spectator Q&A:

"Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it legal to carry an unopened bottle of wine aboard an airline as a gift?

—Gene M., San Jose, Calif.

Dear Gene,

It's perfectly legal. The FAA allows unopened wine on board, and in your luggage, without any restrictions. Alcohol in general is allowed—thus, all the airport duty-free shops selling Scotch—but you can carry no more than 5 liters of a beverage with an alcohol content of 24 percent to 70 percent. Alcoholic beverages with more than 70 percent alcohol are not allowed, period, as they are (rightfully) considered to be hazardous material.

Interestingly, if you ever try to open a bottle of your own wine aboard an airline (as I have), you just might get in trouble. Only alcohol served by flight attendants may be consumed on board. Unless you can convince a flight attendant to open your wine and serve it to you, you're out of luck."

November 02, 2005 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Darrin Siegfried said...

I was a judge for this year's Business Traveller Magazine "Cellars in the Sky" competition. Airlines were invited to send in wines they were serving in Business Class. All 30 of us are in the wine business, and the tasting was done blind, in flights of similar wines. I can only imagine, after tasting so many wines that were absolute undrinkable crap that there must be a corporate mindset that says: "Think how much we'll save if it's so bad that no one asks for a second glass."

November 03, 2005 4:08 PM  

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