Wines

Let us pour you a glass of fine vintage wine to bring out the flavors of a delicious meal.

[Music] WINE STRATEGY & PLANNING [Red wine poured into glass, Emirates plane in sky]

Emirates' approach to buying its fine wines is unique. The result of careful planning and strategy.

TERRY: How it began—it was quite a few years ago now, about 10 or 11 years ago—the process was relatively simple. We went out, we looked at our schedule, we decided how many bottles of wine we needed of various types, and we went out into the open market and we bought it. We tasted and we bought for the year, and that was it.

What became evident as we were going through one of the major growth spurts was that that process was no longer going to work, because we would have to lower our quality expectations in order to get the volume of wine we needed, and clearly that wasn't going to work.

I remember Tim Clark, or Sir Tim as he is now, had been having some similar thoughts, and so we worked together as a team, and said, "We're going to change this completely."

ROBIN: It was clear that we needed to understand the industry and that we needed to go right back to the start of the supply chain to where things grow, when they're harvested, build relationships with the vineyards at an early stage.

TERRY: We said, "Right, we're going to start working way into the future. We are going to buy en primeur, we're going to buy wines that need laying down, and we're going to start building our portfolio so that by the time we get ten years into the future, we're going to have a range that is just outstanding." We're at that ten-year point now. When you look at our wine list, there will be a number of wines on there that are not freely available in the market.

People will wonder, where did you get it? How can you afford to put that on board your airplane? This is outstanding. And that comes from making those long-term decisions. [Music]

RICK: Well, in procurement, we buy more than just wine. We buy all the operational aspects that support the business. So that's ground handling, cargo handling, crew hotels, chauffeur drive, air traffic control, and then the two most important liquids are jet fuel and the wine.

ROBIN: If you're flying across the network today, there'll be at least 27, 28 different wine lists. So you can imagine the logistical challenge of moving all those different wines to different places. We'll get through a selection of perhaps 400 different wines over a single year.

RICK: This year we'll be pouring 10 million bottles of wine on Emirates. That's 8 million in Economy, they're the 187 ml bottles, and 2 million full-sized bottles in the premium cabins. Now to visualize that, if we laid them down in a line, they would stretch all the way from London to Cyprus. [Tractor on vineyard road]

It's a logistical feat to get these millions of bottles from vineyard to cellar, and from cellar to aircraft. Every precaution has to be taken to ensure that the wines arrive on board in perfect condition. [Vehicle moves crates to plane exterior]

RICK: We bring in wine not only from France, but also from Australia, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Germany. Typically we air freight anything that doesn't come from France, but the French wines that we bring via ship, they need to get here just in time, so it's a very complex operation. We have a team that supports that, and they are working on it on a daily basis.

JOANNE: Different routes have different wines and different champagnes, which I've only started to notice. If you go into Africa, you'll have a different set of wines potentially than maybe going into some other areas.

ROBIN: One of the things that we're always very careful about is if you're flying to a recognized wine-making country, we will always serve in First Class the best possible wine we can find at that time from that country. A traveler coming from Australia through to the UK, once they've transited through Dubai, they're getting a completely different wine list on the next sector. And if he comes back and then goes down to Africa, again a different wine list. It gives a huge amount of variety at any time.

We need variety, because imagine watching the same film every time you got on a flight—you wouldn't want that. We have to offer our frequent flyers variety and choice.

OLIVER: Emirates has a very clear view of what consumption of wine on board will be like for a number of years out. So being able to buy at the en primeur stage, which is the earliest time that the wines are commercialized, allows us to get the access that we need to supply the airline. So Emirates has a cellar where it stores its wine back in Europe.

ROBIN: We were very lucky, very early on in the process, to start working with a great company based out of Burgundy that had wonderful facilities. And I have to say, it's a very dull, a very boring-looking warehouse from the outside. When you get inside, it's chock full of the most beautiful wines. [Wine pouring sound]

RICK: Every year, we produce an operating plan that sees typically 10% growth in the fleets, in the capacity we put into the market. But also the wine program has become so popular, and we're certainly seeing that in the consumption figures coming through; we're having to revise forecasts almost on a monthly basis. [Wine pouring]

Carefully chosen and stored, these fine wines make their way onto Emirates wine lists to be enjoyed by travelers making their way across the world. [Emirates plane floats above clouds in blue sky] [Airplane noises]

Find your perfect match

Choose a fine wine to complement your meal.

Whether you prefer a crisp, citrusy white or a full-flavored red, choose a fine wine from our carefully created list to complement the flavors of your meal.

We select our wines from world-class vineyards in France, Germany, the US, South Africa, and New Zealand. We choose these wines not only for their flavor, but because they maintain their quality in the cabin environment. Explore our wine list, which includes vintages and limited editions, and let us pour you a glass whenever the mood takes you.

[Music] CREATING A WINE LIST [Sound of wine being poured] [Attendant displays wine label for passenger, pours wine]

At Emirates, creating a wine list is about choosing wines that will taste good in a cabin environment and compliment the airline's extensive menus. 

JOOST: My role is very much looking after about those 50 million meals a year that we serve on board of all our aircraft. So the wine bit is the fun bit.

ROBIN: You've got to set together a balanced wine list. We've only got a limited number of wines we can put on board. Planes are finite in space, we've got a finite amount of storage. So when we're selecting the wines that go on board, got to get wines that work together.

JOOST: So we believe that the passengers that pay very, very good money to fly with Emirates, is that they deserve great quality food with a great quality wine. Food and wine is always about discovery. [Assorted sushi, white wine]

ROBIN: You've got to have wines that work with food, and that's why we love Bordeaux, because Bordeaux is a wine that's immaculate with food. And you can take from white meats right through to game on Bordeaux. It's a very versatile style of wine. [Red wine bottles]

OLIVER: of the Emirates Business and First Class lists are anchored with red Bordeaux. You will always find a red Bordeaux on board and that will be a wine that Emirates will probably have bought some years ago and will have cellared until that wine is what we would decide at the time of buying, ready to be drunk.

And so a lot of those wines would have been bought six months after they were made, just to give you an idea of how long they're cellared for, and that's really a minimum. [Sunny vineyard] [Birds tweeting]

TERRY: Of course, France and Bordeaux is the core of our offering and the one that we've spent a lot of time focusing on in terms of laying down. However, we feature wines from every major wine-producing country around the world. And our aim is to not only reflect our passenger profiles and the destinations we go to, but make it that we've got really highly recognizable wines on board.

So whatever is the latest favorite that's coming up, say, in Sydney, we'll be ears and eyes out to make sure we've got that.

ROBIN: We're trying to appeal to two very different types of people, the old world wine connoisseur and his counterpart in the new world. There are brilliant wines in the old world, fabulous wines in the new world. And so what we're trying to do is when someone opens the list, and we're trying to think about even if they're not going to drink, they should open that list and they should look down it and go, "Ah." They should recognize the brands on there.

OLIVER: What we're looking for is for the two whites and the two reds that we see on the wine list to be sufficiently different from each other. So if there's a French white wine from someone like Sancerre, which was a very clean dry crisp wine, Then we'll be looking for a wine to compliment that style, so it might be something a little bit richer, something with some oak aging perhaps. And we want to represent other regions of the world, so in that case we might look for something from Australia or from California, for example. Whatever the customer's preference, the Emirates wine lists offer a chance to discover rare and interesting vintages from the old and new worlds. [Emirates plane in sky]

Expect wines served at their best.

We serve our wines with knowledge and care.

We choose wines that are versatile, which means they’re easy to pair with the wide range of meals on our menus.

When we create our lists, we aim to include both Old World and New World wines and to offer you a range of distinctly different tastes. We also make an effort to source the favorite wines of the region. And when we serve your wine, we’re careful about the way each bottle is opened, poured, and presented, so you can savor it at its best.

[Music] WINE SERVICE [Red wine poured, plane in sky]

Serving wine at 30,000 feet can be a complicated process, and the Emirates team have to consider many factors when putting their fine wines on board.

TERRY: [Swirls wine, sniffs] Having a great product, having great wine is one thing. Making sure that it is looked after and in great shape by the time it gets on board an airplane is a task in its own right. Once it gets on board the airplane, how it is served, how the crew are trained, the way in which it's poured, how crew will guide people as to the combination between a wine and the food, that is all a huge effort behind the scenes.

JOANNE: And it's clearly visible that there has been quite a lot of focus and training done with the crew in terms of wines, and making sure that it gets served to the optimum, and that it's not just sort of poured in and hope it works.

OLIVER: There's about a hundred different wines going on board each year, okay? So having great wines in great glasses is not really enough. You need to have the right approach to serving wines, and that requires quite a lot of training.

ALAN: Most of the cabin crew is so proud of the wine list and so proud about what they're serving that their knowledge base is very good.

ZARA: I am a Business class service trainer, so I'm there to develop the crew to show them things such as how to pronounce the names, and then also to go forward and look at pouring and presentation skills.

OMITA: My role is to ensure that the crew are able to serve the customer competently. There's a practical application as in how to describe the wine, how to go and open the wine, and we create different scenarios that could potentially be coming their way.

GISCARD: We always make sure to train them how they hold the glass from the base, the pouring technique, and we try our best once they go on board to implement this training.

ZARA: So the approach of the wine training, I think, is to give the crew the best understanding of firstly the product and also how the customer wants to receive that product.

OLIVER: You have to spend a bit of time researching the list before you get out in front of the customer. What are the tools to help you?

How to coach people to recommend wines, we do that through showing them the different styles of wine and how they will pair with classic dishes on the menu. The physical service is also very important so how to pour a wine and how much of a wine to pour all gets covered in the intensive program that the cabin crew undergoes.

The work behind the scenes at Emirates ensures that every drop of fine wine is poured with knowledge and skill. [Champagne poured into flutes, Emirates plane circles sky] [Airplane engine]

Raise a glass of fine champagne.

Savor the flavors in every glass.

When you fly First Class with us, you can enjoy the very best wines and champagnes from our cellar, including the latest vintage from Dom Pérignon, the 2006.

Sit back and let us pour you a glass when you arrive on board. The champagne opens with a bright bouquet, blending into a floral and fruity taste. As the flavors develop, you can enjoy candied fruit and toasted notes, along with hints of licorice. This round, complex champagne is silky, melting into a finishing bitterness with a hint of saltiness.

Explore the wines on your flight

We update our list every month with a selection of new wines. Find out which wines and champagnes you can enjoy on your flight.

See the wine list on your flight
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Our products and services may vary depending on the aircraft. We may also change the type of aircraft due to our service needs.