Sampling more than 900 wines is not a job you usually associate with aviation but that’s the task American Airlines master sommeliers Bobby Stuckey and Desmond Echavarrie set themselves over a year.
Their mission: to create new wine lists at the US carrier’s premium lounges that will appeal to varying tastes and palates and, whenever possible, to provide local flavors at various airports.
That means bottles from the Finger Lakes region at New York’s JFK airport and Northern Californian wines at Los Angeles.
The pair’s latest wine list is being unveiled this month and includes two new custom-designed wines made exclusively for American by Stuckey and complimentary in the Admirals Club.
Stuckey and his team worked with grape producers from Southern Italy to produce Veloce Rosso and Veloce Bianco, described as “aromatic bright and crisp”.
The new Flagship First Dining wine lists vary from port to port and include wines from Spain, South Africa, California, Italy, Argentina and France.
Stuckey and Echavarrie are among just 255 master sommeliers worldwide and each quarter they identify their top selections based on their notes and historical data on which wines have proved popular in lounges around the world.
Their findings are presented to staff to solicit feedback on which wines are most suited for the Admirals Club, Flagship Lounge or Flagship First Dining.
“We’re diligent in offering a broad selection of wines so that every wine drinker can find something they like when traveling,” says Stuckey.
“We look at it more like putting together a restaurant wine-by-the-glass menu. Customers can go for a great glass of Champagne or a full-bodied red and everything in between.”
American has won a number of awards for its wines including four gold medals in 2018