Sky is no limit for high-altitude wine blend

An Australian winery has taken tailoring products to suit its target market to new heights.   

By Andrew Spence / 6th of March, 2017

St Hallett Wines in South Australia’s Barossa Valley has released a Shiraz blend specifically designed to be sipped in the high-altitude cabins of passenger aircrafts.

Plans are also in place to not only serve The Duo at altitude but to also blend it mid-flight for maximum effect.

St Hallett_BottleThe Duo, named after the neighbouring regions of Barossa Valley and Eden Valley where the shiraz grapes were sourced from, will be served exclusively on board Virgin Australia flights in Business Class and can be sampled in Virgin Australia lounges.

St Hallett winemaker Shelley Cox said the cooler climate Eden Valley fruit was chosen for its floral and spicy aroma while the Barossa Valley grapes were more rounded and plush.

She said the creation of a specific blend was important because the cabin pressure, noise and dry air while flying dulled the senses.

“Blending the two of those together means you’ve got a full-flavoured palate but not the strong tannins so it’s nice and smooth, easy to drink and not out of balance.

“Whereas with the normal domestic wine the tannin might seem a little bit aggressive in those conditions.”

“It’s also got a nose that’s inviting and will be able to be sensed at that higher altitude.”

Cox said it was the first time she had heard of a winery customising a blend specifically to be consumed in an aircraft.

She said it was hoped The Duo would become an ongoing product as the demand for more customised products grew.

“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 on-board services team came over and did the blending with me and I think the plan is to do a blending session up in the air on a flight to Perth so we can get that in flight experience as well.”

South Australia is consistently responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production and about 75 per cent of its premium wine.

The Barossa Valley produces world-renowned brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass.

Virgin Australia’s General Manager In-flight Experience, Tash Tobias said the team was always searching for ways to deliver outstanding on board experiences.

“We are thrilled to bring the best of the Barossa to our guests travelling in Business Class and will continue to work with leading industry players to improve the in-flight experience,” Tobias said.

 

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