Soaring shiraz designed to be drunk at 38,000ft

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March 02, 2017

Australian vineyard claims a first with wine specifically blended for aircraft consumption

An Australian vineyard believes it has achieved a first by specifically blending a wine to be drunk while an aircraft is in cruise at 38,000ft.

Depending on the aircraft, cabin pressure at that altitude is between 6000ft and 8000ft above sea level and combines with the low humidity to affect the taste buds.

Airlines for some time have designed food to take into account the impact of lower cabin pressure and also select wines with this in mind.

But St Hallett, from Australia’s Barossa Valley region, and Virgin Australia have taken this a step further to blend a wine specifically for consumption at high altitude.

Virgin worked with St Hallett winemaker Shelley Cox to produce a  shiraz the partners say delivers balanced acidity and texture when consumed in the air.

The wine, made from grapes from the Barossa and Eden valleys, was also designed to complement the meals offered in the Virgin’s award-winning business class by chef Luke Mangan.

Read: Virgin Australia takes out major industry awards.

“The drier air in the cabin can make it hard to really capture a wine’s aroma,’’ Cox said. “This is where the Eden Valley component comes in.

“The higher altitude of the Eden Valley means cooler conditions and creates Shiraz with lovely overt floral aromas. You only need a small component to really lift a whole blend.

“We played around with a lot of different options to ensure the acid and texture balance was right. It was a great experience and we are confident the wine will deliver in both taste and aroma on the plane at altitude.”

The wine, labelled The Duo, is already on board Virgin Australia aircraft and in the carrier’s lounges.