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Is everyone on FT a wine connoisseur?

Is everyone on FT a wine connoisseur?

Old May 21, 17, 10:41 am
  #1  
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Is everyone on FT a wine connoisseur?

Not trolling or anything, just a serious observation.

I can't help but notice that a lot of the comments around J/F cabins and lounges revolve around how good/bad the champagne and wine selection is. It's not something you generally think of when going out with some friends for drinks unless you're seriously into wines but it seems that many frequent fliers enjoy commenting on the wine selection.

Am I just too low brow to get it?
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Old May 21, 17, 10:51 am
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Maybe it all goes hand in hand -

Some people see a flight as "public transport" much like a bus - pay for and receive MVP - but they get there.

Others see a flight as something that can be a premium experience, same with food and the wine that could pair with it. Spending the extra money on what some may argue is intangible.

I've done a few wine/spirit qualifications because I am interested in and enjoy wine. Never worked a day in the industry.
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Old May 21, 17, 10:54 am
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I can't speak for everyone on FT who comments on wine selections but by your definition I am a wine connoisseur. Anytime I'm somewhere that serves wines-- a restaurant, a bar, an airplane or flight lounge, and with or without companions-- I do evaluate the wine selection. I choose what to order based on the price and quality of the selection. Occasionally these are unappealing enough that I forego ordering anything at all-- and I may advise my companions to do the same and note the poor selection on review sites I contribute to.
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Old May 21, 17, 4:31 pm
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I'm not a wine connoisseur, but I don't think it is that difficult to distinguish between what is a good wine vs. what is a cheap wine (in every sense of the word). Eventually you drink enough to be able to determine the difference
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Old May 21, 17, 8:36 pm
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most of those people are not connoisseurs and many do not buy wine

many on FT do spend a lot on expensive wine, dont necessarily post like that

many on FT make a big deal about not spending above certain amount on wine

Originally Posted by yannerd View Post
It's not something you generally think of when going out with some friends for drinks unless you're seriously into wines
it is at wine bars, fine dining restaurants, high end bars/clubs

many on FT buy expensive stuff including flights, but that does not apply to all report writers

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 21, 17 at 8:43 pm
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Old May 21, 17, 10:39 pm
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Originally Posted by yannerd View Post
Not trolling or anything, just a serious observation.

I can't help but notice that a lot of the comments around J/F cabins and lounges revolve around how good/bad the champagne and wine selection is. It's not something you generally think of when going out with some friends for drinks unless you're seriously into wines but it seems that many frequent fliers enjoy commenting on the wine selection.

Am I just too low brow to get it?
I too have noticed that there are many more folks here, percentage wise, who are into wine than I encounter in my day to day life. Could be a lot of reasons, but in my case I know and interact with VERY few frequent fliers other than here.
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Old May 22, 17, 7:19 am
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This is the internet. Everyone is an expert in everything. How did you get here with such poor credentials?
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Old May 22, 17, 7:33 am
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Nope, non-drinker here, who always gets rather irritated at the lack of decent quality non-alcoholic drinks on offer to compete with the (much more expensive!) wines and the like.
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Old May 22, 17, 7:46 am
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I am both cheap and adventurous. I like wine but drink far more beer than anything else. However, when traveling to a location where good wine is produced - like Italy, France, Argentina, etc. I will drink what the locals drink and probably bring home a bottle or two. My wife enjoys red wine and I am on a perpetual search for drinkable red wine that costs less than $10 a bottle. I consider myself to be many levels below the connoisseur badge.

Last edited by BamaVol; May 22, 17 at 9:43 am
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Old May 22, 17, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by Morph90 View Post
Maybe it all goes hand in hand -

Some people see a flight as "public transport" much like a bus - pay for and receive MVP - but they get there.

Others see a flight as something that can be a premium experience, same with food and the wine that could pair with it. Spending the extra money on what some may argue is intangible.

I've done a few wine/spirit qualifications because I am interested in and enjoy wine. Never worked a day in the industry.
(Bolding mine)

Not necessarily "spending the extra money!!!" Some considerations if you are truly a savvy flyer: 1) You might be a frequent business traveler and therefore are able to (fairly) easily achieve some level of elite status on one or more airlines and/or airline alliances, while not necessarily spending your own money to do so. With elite status comes the possibility of being able to score free or low-cost upgrades to business or first class.
2) Some companies will even spring for business/first class fares for their employees, especially on longer flights.
3) Even if you don't fly really frequently, and don't achieve status on an airline, by accumulating redeemable miles you can (eventually) use them for award flights in business or first class (or in economy class as well, of course).

The above relates to FlyerTalk's original (and still core) mission, i.e., learning how to use airline (and other) loyalty programs to enhance one's travel experience. It's surprising how many FTers don't seem to get this.
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Old May 22, 17, 8:50 am
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I enjoy wine, know good from bad, but have no time for the affectations and snobbery that sometimes go along with it. "Raised on the sun lit hills of a small eastern facing farm in Burgundy, this charming little number has a nose of cherries with a hint of field muffins...."

My idea of fun with wine snobs is to play "stump the band" with wine from a little known wine growing region that I discovered during my travels.

Last edited by Badenoch; May 22, 17 at 11:40 am
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Old May 22, 17, 11:23 am
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many on FT do not do awards, and are here for comparisons/details

Originally Posted by stut View Post
Nope, non-drinker here, who always gets rather irritated at the lack of decent quality non-alcoholic drinks on offer to compete with the (much more expensive!) wines and the like.
you might check out Alain Milliat
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Old May 22, 17, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
I'm not a wine connoisseur, but I don't think it is that difficult to distinguish between what is a good wine vs. what is a cheap wine (in every sense of the word). Eventually you drink enough to be able to determine the difference
I've had enough fine wine in my life that nowadays, what I drink is the stuff that is BOTH very good and very cheap. The fact is, there is an oversupply of fine wine on the market. You would be amazed at how much distressed inventory is out there. Stuff that was made by highly competent winemakers and organizations, with the intention of being sold for $20 to $100 a bottle, or more, and which can be picked up for under $10 a bottle under various circumstances - including negotiant labels like Cameron Hughes, or Trader Joes or Kirkland, or at clearing houses like Grocery Outlet. Recently I've been mainly drinking some more than very decent Spanish, Portuguese and Chilean red wines that were originally intended to sell for $20-$30 a bottle, but which I paid between $4-8 a bottle for most of it.

You would be shocked to learn how much high quality Syrah-, Grenache, and Tempranillo based wine can be found for $5 a bottle if you know where to look for it. Meanwhile, I've got cases and cases of $30-100 a bottle and more of California and French wine that's going un-consumed because the $5 Chilean Syrahs and Spanish Tempranillo/Garnacha blends give me just as much drinking pleasure at 1/8th the cost.
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Old May 23, 17, 1:50 am
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I can say, at least for myself, that travel came first and the wine habit followed. Ten years ago, I was a bourbon-and-coke or beer guy.

But that changed when I started getting to fly more long haul J. Wine is by far the most interesting drink served in premium cabins - there are usually 4-6 selections representing different regions of the world. Often, the wines are chosen to represent the airline's home country (or others in their region). And the quality is generally high, while other beverages tend to be unremarkable (most airlines serve standard call liquors and mass-market beers, for example.) You'd be crazy not to take the opportunity to try Dom if you're flying Emirates F, for example.

Another factor is that wine is very popular in many regions of the world where FT'ers tend to travel (particularly Europe). It's basically impossible to visit Portugal, Spain, France or Italy and not get sucked up in the wine culture if you're a drinker. And while 2 Euro table wine is a big part of the culture in all of those places, they also have a diverse depth of more interesting stuff.

For me, once I've had a bunch of wines from a country while visiting it, my brain starts associating the tastes of those wines with my experience there. A crisp vinho verde reminds me of afternoons spent with cod and sunshine in Lisbon. Big, in your face Italian wines feel appropriate for the culture of Italy. A smooth LBV Port takes me back to the cellars of Porto. Fun-loving Spanish Rioja wines take me back to late nights tapas-hopping in Madrid. A refined, elegant Alsatian white almost perfectly captures the vibe of Strasbourg at Christmas for me. And, perhaps most of all, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc takes me back to my honeymoon, where we downed far too many bottles of the stuff far too easily between a Fijian beach and a Marlborough B&B.

Am I a wine professional, who can reliably tell expensive wine from swill and pull out notes of tobacco and starfruit? Nope, not even close. But I've drunk enough of the stuff now to describe traits I like and dislike, and I at least have developed an appreciation for interesting wine with character.

One of the delights of the stuff is that I continue to be surprised by new flavors and experiences - unsurprisingly, the same reason I have a travel habit, too. Something tells me I'm not the only FlyerTalker who's followed a similar path.

Originally Posted by DeweyCheathem View Post
I've had enough fine wine in my life that nowadays, what I drink is the stuff that is BOTH very good and very cheap. The fact is, there is an oversupply of fine wine on the market. You would be amazed at how much distressed inventory is out there. Stuff that was made by highly competent winemakers and organizations, with the intention of being sold for $20 to $100 a bottle, or more, and which can be picked up for under $10 a bottle under various circumstances - including negotiant labels like Cameron Hughes, or Trader Joes or Kirkland, or at clearing houses like Grocery Outlet. Recently I've been mainly drinking some more than very decent Spanish, Portuguese and Chilean red wines that were originally intended to sell for $20-$30 a bottle, but which I paid between $4-8 a bottle for most of it.

You would be shocked to learn how much high quality Syrah-, Grenache, and Tempranillo based wine can be found for $5 a bottle if you know where to look for it. Meanwhile, I've got cases and cases of $30-100 a bottle and more of California and French wine that's going un-consumed because the $5 Chilean Syrahs and Spanish Tempranillo/Garnacha blends give me just as much drinking pleasure at 1/8th the cost.
Do you have any advice for navigating liquidators like Grocery Outlet? I frequent one near my home; they have a pretty diverse selection, but everything's at a pretty similar price point and (as you'd expect for a liquidator masking the sources) none of the labels are familiar. It's doubly tricky because you aren't even guaranteed that wines will be consistent from batch to batch, since they may reuse the same branding for different products.

Do you just try a smattering of bottles, see which ones you like, and return to buy more of the favorites? Are there cues on the label that help you correlate with the real producer? Or are there third party reviews that help with the decisionmaking process?

Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post
My idea of fun with wine snobs is to play "stump the band" with wine from a little known wine growing region that I discovered during my travels.
A good friend of mine, also an FT sort (although a lurker rather than a poster), likes to do this with Georgian wine. It's pretty entertaining sport!

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 26, 17 at 7:37 am Reason: merge
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Old May 23, 17, 3:48 am
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If we are talking about premium cabins and premium experiences, then the food and wine should be commented on. They are an integral part of the experience. Apart from in the USA, and away from NYC and SF, I cannot remember when I last saw someone dining in a fine restaurant and drinking Coke. The wine is part of the meal and complements the food.

Having said that, some here seem to be label driven rather than flavour driven and I would absolutely agree that you don't need to pay much to get good wine. 10 a bottle will buy you a delicious wine from an excellent producer but in a less well known region.

The worst part of wines on planes is exemplified by UA's absurd business class "flights" of wine. Indifferent wines with no points of comparison and not chosen to complement the food.
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