Are you flying long distance soon? Does your selected airline serve wine to passengers in your section of the plane, free or otherwise? So, is that wine any good, or just cheapo stuff with a fancy label?

If you are lucky enough to be in the front of the plane on an airline which values customer service, there might be something good offered there. I remember an occasion many years ago on a Qantas flight from Perth (Western Australia) to Singapore where company rules placed me in first class. A great flight, and lots of top quality champagne on offer. Today economics are tighter, but Qantas is still the third biggest buyer of Australian wines. And many airlines make their in-flight wine lists a selling point for the less cost conscious customer, seeking advice from Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers on what to serve.

But back in cattle class, there is not as much choice, just serving sized plastic bottles and a limited selection. The cabin air pressure may seem to change wine, though the wine doesn’t actually change. It’s the customer who changes, affected by a cabin air pressure comparable to nearly twice the elevation of Brasstown Bald.

However, you can do a few things you can do to optimize your choice of wine. The dry cabin air makes full-bodied fruity wines taste more enjoyable. So, go for an Australian Shiraz, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, a Spanish Rioja or a buttery oaked Californian Chardonnay. Conversely, avoid lighter red wines like a Beaujolais and wines with a sharp acid edge like Sauvignon Blanc.

Have a safe journey!