South African Airways Wine ServiceRarely impressed by the airline industry’s food and beverage service, I was recently won over by South African Airways (SAA) in-flight wine selection. En route to Johannesburg I swirled a white that was just too good to be served on a plane–until I learned the history of how it got there. Each year SAA spends two-and-a-half-days hosting an event with an expert team of local and international wine connoisseurs choosing the 80 wines offered on their flights throughout the year. In 2008 alone more than 900 wines were submitted for vigorous tasting and voting. Beyond assembling the team of judges, SAA actually employs the help of independent auditors Deloitte and Touche to monitor the scoring of each top wine in its respective category (Best White, Best Red, Port, among others). The top-flight white that that I enjoyed so much was the Bellingham 2007 Maverick Chenin Blanc–which came across with a strong fruit note followed by a spicy finish. Finally, an amenity worth flying for.


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