A panel of experts has judged the wines served by Lufthansa and Thomson Airways to be the best offered in economy class by any European airline.
For the 2012 Airline Wine Awards, the travel website Skyscanner invited the experts to blind-taste 21 entries, using a scale of 1-10 points.
The winner in the red wine category was Thomson Airways, for its 2011 Finca La Linda Cabernet Sauvignon, produced in Argentina.
It was followed by Scandinavian carrier SAS, for the 2011 Backhouse Pinot Noir produced in California by the Cecchetti Wine Company. In third place was Turkish Pegasus Airlines, for its 2011 Kavaklidere Angora produced in Turkey.
In the white wine category, Lufthansa came first for its 2011 Peter & Peter Riesling, produced in Mosel, Germany, followed by KLM with the 2012 Terra Andina Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay from Chile. In third place was easyJet, for its 2011 Louis Mondeville Sauvignon Blanc, produced in the Pays d'Oc region of southern France.
The experts agreed that the competition for the white wine honors was more closely fought than in previous years, as the overall quality was particularly high.
In past competitions, KLM has been the most consistent participant, being rewarded in both categories for two consecutive years.
The panel comprised 12 wine experts and frequent travelers, led by Scottish author and wine journalist Tom Cannavan. Among the judges were Stuart Fyfe, head sommelier at the Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh; Claire Blackler, founder of the Case Studies Wine School, also in Edinburgh; and London-based Californian Denise Medrano, The Wine Sleuth blogger.
At the same time, Skyscanner carried out a study on alcohol consumption among 1,000 British travelers. It found that 23 percent said they were most likely to drink wine on the plane, 53 percent drink alcohol every day when on holiday, and 12 percent declared they never drink when traveling.
Also this summer, Global Traveler magazine held its annual Wines on the Wing competition to find the best wines served in business and first class. A panel of 28 experts, assembled in New York, blind-tasted red, white and sparkling offerings of airlines from around the world. In the results, the award for business-class wines went to Brussels Airlines, while the first-class honors went to British Airways.
Best economy-class white wine, according to Skyscanner's panel
1. Lufthansa, 2011 Peter & Peter Riesling, Mosel, Germany
2. KLM, 2012 Terra Andina Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay, Chile
3. easyJet, 2011 Louis Mondeville Sauvignon Blanc, Pays d'Oc, France
4. Pegasus, 2011 Kavaklidere Cankaya, Turkey
5. BA & Iberia, 2011 Val de los Frailes Verdejo, Bodegas Matarromera, Rueda, Spain
Best economy-class red wine, according to Skyscanner's panel
1. Thomson 2011 Finca La Linda Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina
2. SAS, 2011 Backhouse Pinot Noir, USA
3. Pegasus, 2011 Kavaklidere Angora, Turkey
4. BMI, 2011 Grand Sud Merlot, France
5. KLM, 2011 Terra Andina Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Chile