ATLANTA, July 24, 2012 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) started the weeklongprocess ofrevision and sampling of more than 1,600 wine submissions from wineries and wine brokers all over the world, under the direction of Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. The wines will be served in the Business Elite cabins on all Delta flights on 2013.
The demanding selection process, which has become an annual event, takes several months to organize and culminates with several days of tasting the wines. Cases of wine from more than 50 wineries, large and small, across the globe are delivered to Delta’s Atlanta headquarters to be sampled and reviewed. Robinson considers numerous factors, from the complexity of the wine to fine details such as the finesse of its label. The wineries selected must be able to deliver the large quantities of wine that are served on board Business Elite cabins each year, which come to approximately 128,000 cases of wine served worldwide.
“The wine selection process is intense as we must evaluate so many excellent wine submissions from wineries around the world,” Robinson said. “The selection of wines for Business Elite cabin represents outstanding global wines inspired by some of the great destinations we serve, including of course Latin America. We have recently featured a variety of Latin American wines like TupunTorrontes, GougenheimTorrontes, and Chakana Estate Selection Malbec from Argentina; and from Chile, Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet, and MontGrasCarmenereReserva--all of them winners of past competitions.”
Selecting the wines has as much to do with science as with the sensorial appreciation of the complexity of wines submitted. The sense of taste is very much ingrained to the sense of smell. In fact, at 30,000 feet of altitude the sense of taste is limited as distinguishing nuances of sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavors are dependent to the sense of smell. To perceive scent the body needs to have both vapor, which is easy to perceive in wine because it vaporizes or volatilizes at room temperature due to its alcohol content; however, the body also requires moisture to properly perceive flavors. In a pressurized cabin where humidity is kept at approximately 10 per cent, the body is at an enormous disadvantage because pressure and humidity changes dramatically affect the ability to perceive scent and flavor. At that altitude the body also becomes dehydrated, thus all of your receptors are attenuated.
“We face a great challenge because Delta wants its customers to like what we chose so we look for assertive wines, the ones that will wake up your senses and have a tremendous amount of presence on the palate,” said Robinson. “Our selections will have expressive aromas and flavors as well as caressing textures. We really want wines that taste great on the ground so our customers are as excited about them when they land as wehen they sampled them during the flight.”
At the end of the process Master Sommelier Robinson will select eight red wines, eight white wines, one champagne, one sparkling wine, two ports and two dessert wines to be rotated into the menu throughout the year.
Delta is working to become the best U.S. carrier in Latin America and the Caribbean. As part of that goal Delta has established a long-term exclusive alliance with GOL LinhasAereasInteligentes investing more than US $100 million in GOL. Likewise, Delta has invested more than US $65 million in Aeroméxico as part of a long-term exclusive commercial alliance and entered a code sharing agreement with AerolíneasArgentinas solidifying its footprint in Latin America. Executive Travel magazine recognized Delta with the Gold Leading Edge Award for the Best Flight Experience to Mexico. Delta provides service in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport reaching out to 32 countries and 54 destinations in the region offering more than 1,000 weekly flights between Latin America and the U.S. Spanish speaking Delta customers can receive assistance in Spanish through its Twitter channel @DeltaAssist_ES providing real-time, on-the-go travel assistance from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. During the past year, Delta was named domestic "Airline of the Year" by the readers of Travel Weekly magazine, was named the "Top Tech-Friendly U.S. Airline" by PCWorld magazine for its innovation in technology and won the Business Travel News Annual Airline Survey. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 350 destinations in 65 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, a world-class airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Delta is investing more than $3 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at delta.com.