Emirates continues their journey towards becoming a superior airline through their now 12 year old Wine Program. Over this period the airline has spent over $500 million in a bid to provide an expansive array of wines for connoisseurs in the sky. According to Joost Heymeijer, a senior vice president in charge of the inflight catering service at Emirates, any point of time the airline is flying about 70 different types of wine across its network. Their wine list is curated based on “the flight path and what vintage is drinking best at that particular time” reported Bloomberg.
In a year, over 300 vintages are served in-flight and this dizzying rotation of wine is possible thanks to Emirates’ wine storage warehouses in Burgundy, France. This is where many wines are stored until they are deemed ready to serve. Home to something like 3.75 million bottles, these warehouses are not the dusty cellars you’re picturing. “If you have a vision of limestone cellars with cobwebs, I’m sorry to disappoint you,” Heymeijer told Bloomberg. “Ours is more of a Fort Knox-style facility.”
The spaces are temperature-controlled and light-deprived and the wines are stored in their original packaging, in boxes and on palettes. This storage facility and its impressive contents would put many fine dining establishments to shame and would bring a tear to the eye of a wine connoisseur.
Even on board, great care is taken to preserve the intregrity of the wines. They are served in larger fluted glasses than usual and are decanted into personal carafes rather than from the bottles. The airline also works hard to improve the humidity and air pressure in their cabins. “The conditions inside our aircraft are the same as if you were in a mountain in the Swiss Alps,” said Heymeijer. “If you were in a restaurant in the Alps, you wouldn’t be asking a sommelier about the altitude.