So many factors go into Asiana Airlines’ choice of wines served on its international first- and business-class flights. The carrier must consider both Korean and Western cuisines as well as the taste preferences of 17 million passengers from the 24 countries it serves.
And there are many more aspects the airline’s three international sommeliers — Andreas Larsson of Sweden, Evangelos Pattas of Belgium and Christine Balais of France — ponder when choosing wines every three years. They begin by sampling the airline’s in-flight meals to understand the flavors of the foods being served. They then blind taste approximately 300 wines, ultimately narrowing their choices down to about 25.
“The most important factor in choosing a wine,” Andreas Larsson says, “is the quality of the wine itself. We look for well-balanced wines. We consider aroma, flavor, length, structure, grape variety, the region, how it marries with our food. We try to offer wines from all over, not just from ‘must-have’ regions.” So while their selections often feature Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, they also include California, South Africa, Spain, Germany and the Rhône: in short, the rest of the viticultural world. To counteract the effects of high altitude on the perception of wine, they also look for wines not overly high in tannin, acid and alcohol. And they often add other wines between their major tastings.
Once they narrow their choices, the sommeliers submit them to Hyun Mee Han, Asiana’s executive vice president, for her approval.
And that is why current passengers in Asiana’s first class can enjoy Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill 2000 Champagne and a selection of Burgundy, South African Sauvignon Blanc and German Riesling among whites; and Bordeaux, Burgundy, Australian Shiraz and California Cabernet Sauvignon among reds. Business-class passengers can choose from Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne, Burgundy and California Chardonnay among whites; and among reds, Bordeaux, California Pinot Noir and Australian Syrah. Asiana also offers a variety of beers, mostly South Korea’s own.
Every year, Asiana opens 2,400 bottles of Champagne; 4,400 bottles of red wine; and 2,000 bottles of white in first class; and 34,000 bottles of Champagne; 83,000 bottles of red wine; and 48,000 bottles of white wine in business class, for a total cost in excess of $2.1 million.
No wonder a character in the popular Korean movie The Thieves says, “Asiana, they serve excellent wine.”
The world’s first and highest 360-degree infinity pool will open in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. One of the region’s most anticipated attractions, AURA SKYPOOL will begin welcoming guests in mid-November.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
Airplane travel evokes a lot of emotions these days: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness, just to name a few. But when you do take to the skies again, the giddiness of getting pampered at 35,000 feet can most certainly wash away the surrealness of the past year and a half — at least for the duration of a long- haul flight — as you sip Champagne and slip your feet into plush slippers. While some global airlines have paused or pushed back plans for upgrades and refreshes to their premium cabins, others have introduced exciting changes that await in your pod or lie-flat bed in first and business classes. What’s more, amenities like privacy screens, sliding suite doors and space to spread out all serve a dual purpose as methods to luxuriate in the air while keeping social distance. Here are some nice- ties to expect now and in the near future, from retrofitted seat configurations to updated décor to Michelin-starred meals:
United Airlines is making international travel more accessible. United announced the largest trans-Atlantic expansion in its history, including 10 new flights and five new destinations including Amman (AMM), Jordan; Bergen (BGO), Norway; Azores (PDL), Portugal; Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Spain; and Tenerife (TFS) in the Spanish Canary Islands. All new routes, set to begin in spring 2022, are not served by any other North American carrier.
History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Walker Hotel Tribeca is blushing pink with an exclusive offer benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month, guests can book an all-pink guestroom, among additional amenities.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
Insight Vacations, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland are offering the chance to win a free trip to Ireland for two, valued at $6,000. Oct. 18–22, The Road to Ireland contest page will be updated daily with a new clue and question that contestants will need to answer for a chance to win a trip for two on Insight’s Country Roads of Ireland tour in 2022. Contestants have until 11:59 p.m. PST Oct. 29 to submit answers.