'Whining Oenophiles' Heard
One of the best things about the Concorde, we're told, was the
service. Really good food, super-attentive crew, and the best wines
in the air made the already-short trans-Atlantic crossings seem
The wine collection was started in the late 1980s,
to provide a suitable complement to the food; British Air research
found that passengers wanted a champagne, a claret, and a white
burgundy. BA's buyers responded, and bought lovely selections of
each, which were guarded in environmentally-controlled vaults at
Heathrow, with smaller, similar caches to be found in Barbados, New
York, and Toronto.
Galley space constraints limited each in-flight selection to
just three possibilities; but the selection was constantly rotated,
and the roughly $200/bottle wines and champagnes were
adequate, to satify the upscale PAX.
art, in addition to science, in the selection of the offerings;
some wines have been found to taste really lousy at altitude,
especially in an airplane's cabin. The scientific community is
still wondering why a particular wine can taste just fine at sea
level, or even at 8000 feet in a mountain chateau, yet be
unpalatable in an airplane, at that 8000-foot cabin altitude. The
dryness of cabin air, contaminants that aren't otherise noticed --
nobody has the answer; the taste, though, is unmistakable.
Anyway, the Concorde's cellars will not be sold at auction, as
was the original plan. Patrons have convinced BA to sell the
Concorde's wines on regular flights. Whether the cellars will be
restocked will depend on passenger acceptance.