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Wine in the Sky

Wine in the Sky

blog , Laurita Winery , wine news , Wine Science , Wine Weirdness 🕔January 6, 2018 0 comments

If you’ve ever had a glass of wine during a flight, you might think (like we did) that airplane wine is a lot like airplane food…


According to Forbes, the wine itself is not to blame.

Did it taste flat, bland? It probably was, although through no fault of its own. Wine simply tastes different on a plane at 30,000 feet.

For starters, the air in a plane is dry. Really dry. The dehydrating effects of this air have a direct impact on our olfactory epithelium, the organ that senses smell. And the longer the flight, the more dehydrated you get.

According to Natalie MacLean, one of Canada’s foremost wine journalists, “on a typical long-haul flight the effectiveness of the olfactory epithelium is reduced by around 30%.” In other words, it’s like tasting wine with a bad cold.

It doesn’t help that airplanes, as a rule, do not use good quality wine glasses. Aroma is an important part of the wine experience, and the glasses you find on a plane are usually small and not shaped to capture scent.

The net result is that without the balance offered by the other aromas, wines tasted on a plane flight will appear one dimensional and the flavor elements that are perceived in the mouth will seem exaggerated.

This doesn’t mean you should skip the wine completely while you’re off the ground. Just order accordingly, and don’t choose wines you know have delicate taste and aroma.

According to MacLean, “airlines compensate for the reduced sense of smell from dehydration by choosing wines that are more fruit forward with more pronounced aromas and flavors.”

On the other hand, stay away from the bold reds.

Per MacLean, “the worst wines to serve inflight are mature Bordeaux and Burgundy. Given a passenger’s reduced perception of smell, these expensive wines would taste like plonk.”

Well, no one wants a glass of wine that tastes like plonk. Whatever that is.

Maybe we’ll just ask the flight attendant to recommend something.

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