To fly by private jet, you have achieved great success. Without doubt, you have a busy schedule. Your jet cost $30 million, maybe more. Furnishing it cost another $5 million. Fuel prices have dipped down, but it is still more than the proverbial rounding error. Your flight team is worth every penny. Good catering costs good money. What about your wine cellar in the sky?
One of only 38 Masters of Wine in North America and 318 in the world, James Cluer could be your man. Having advised Qatar Airways for over a decade, he is now consulting with private jet owners, both individuals and corporate flight departments. During a conversation, the Napa-based expert says, he was surprised to see that often the wine list on private jets was a result of having your flight attendant scramble to find a store near the airport during a layover. Cluer notes, he has not found any differences between what works well on commercial airliners versus private jets. He says, decanting may be troublesome because of turbulence and tight galleys, adding, there is a tendency to over pour.
If you are intrigued, Cluer works on a monthly retainer of $2,500. He will find out your preferences, including what type of foods you normally eat while flying. He will train your flight crew on serving. He will also help with making a monthly list, including procurement, all on a confidential basis, of course. “Flying privately is a special experience. Everything should be special,” Cluer believes. Having impressive and well-thought out selections from the vine will not only increase your enjoyment but wow your guests, he adds. Yes, the dry air kills your sense of smell and alters your palate so tannins are more pronounced and certain fruit flavors are lost.
In pitching the story, his PR team warned, “If you crack open $2,000 worth of a big, bold Cabernet at altitude you might as well throw it out the window.” Hard to do, but point taken. Here are some of Cluer’s recommendations for wines that work well in-flight aboard your private jet:
- Krug, Champagne
- Billecart-Salmon Rosé Champagne
- Taittinger Comptes de Champagne 2004
- Roederer, l’Ermitage California
- Marc Morey, Chassagne Montrachet 2011, Burgundy
- Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre, France 2013
- Selbach-Oster, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Spatlese 2011 Riesling (Germany)
- Hamilton Russell, Chardonnay, South Africa 2012
- Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris, Alsace 2012
- Trefethen, Napa Reserve Chardonnay 2012
- Finca Valpiedra, Reserva, 2006 Tempranillo (Spain)
- Felton Road, Pinit Noir, New Zealand 2012
- Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, St Julien, Bordeaux 2009
- Chateau Pavie, St Emilion, Bordeaux 2005