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The airline with an organic-only wine list

French boutique airline La Compagnie’s exclusively-organic onboard wine list is designed to correspond with its “disruptive image”, according to the company.

Anne Crespo, chief commercial and marketing director for La Compagnie, revealed that the organic-only list was first offered to passengers in 2019, but shared that it was not because it was being requested.

“It was a point of differentiation versus other airlines, and it corresponded well with our disruptive image. Moreover, at that time good organic wine was rising in quality, and we knew they would better fit in the atmosphere. We are a young and innovative airline, so we thought it would fit well in terms of offer.”

Given the high-end, exclusive nature of the airline, which only offers business class seating for its flights, which fly from Paris, Milan and New York, La Compagnie has the ability to serve wines from smaller producers.

“We work with small winemakers since we don’t need a huge volume, approximately 300-400 bottles per month,” Crespo shared. The airline works with consultancy Bettane x Desseauve to source the wines.

One consideration airlines have to make when determining their wine selection is how altitude affects taste. Up in the air, the change in pressure, dryness of the air and also the constant noise of the engines can dull our experience of food and drink. Recent research revealed that the taste which is amplified the most is umami, making drinks like tomato juice a good option onboard.

Asked about how wines a chosen with this in mind, Crespo said: “They shouldn’t be older than the 2015 vintage, and with not too much tannin. Then we pair it with the food so that it goes well with the menu, this is why we change the list every month according to the food menu.”

“We have everything,” she continued. “Bordeaux, Rhône, Burgundy, even Languedoc – it really depends on the food paired with the wine. We might have more Bordeaux for the red wines and Burgundy for the whites, but this month, for example, we have a Pinot Noir from Burgundy and a Languedoc Blanc.”

The list has also slightly deviated from tradition through its inclusion of a non-alcoholic fizz, though Crespo explained that this offering will not be expanded: “We can’t have too many references in our wine list, so we included only one non-alcoholic sparking wine called French Bloom, since it was known on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s an alternate option to Champagne for the welcome drink and aperitif. Otherwise, we haven’t extended the non-alcoholic wine offering since the demand isn’t important, and we wouldn’t like to create waste.”

Related reading:

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