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Air France appoints new head sommelier

Xavier Thuizat of Paris’ Hôtel de Crillon will be taking over from Paolo Basso as the new head sommelier for Air France.

Thuizat, who won France’s 2024 Michelin Sommelier Award alongside Magali Delalex, and was named France’s best sommelier in 2022, was born in Burgundy and has a CV boasting of time at Restaurant Bernard Loiseau, Restaurant Le Meurice, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, The Peninsula Paris, and the Rosewood-operated Hôtel de Crillon, where he has been since 2017.

In his capacity as head sommelier for the airline, he will curate the drinks selection available on Air France flights and also at the airport.

As part of this, he will blind taste through a range of wines from across France, from Champagne to the Rhône Valley, to determine the offering. He will also be working on a range of French beers to feature.

Air France estimates that each year it serves more than a million bottles of Champagne and eight million bottles of wine to its customers.

Fabien Pelous, Air France’s SVP for customer experience, paid tribute to his predecessor, Basso, who became the airline’s head sommelier in 2014.

“I would like to thank Paolo Basso, who for ten years has been committed to promoting the finest wines from France’s vineyards for all our customers, in our lounges and on board our aircraft.”

“I am delighted to welcome Xavier Thuizat who, I am sure, will continue in this role with just as much talent and passion,” Pelous added.

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