• February 22, 2017


Japan Airlines (JAL) is delighted to announce that it was awarded the Gold Medal for Best First Class Red by judges at a world-renowned wine competition.

The Cellars in the Sky Awards are run by Business Traveller, the multi-national magazine group. Running for over 30 years, the Cellars in the Sky Awards assess the quality of wines served by airlines on mid- and long-haul flights.

All wines entered into the competition undergo rigorous evaluation, including a two-day blind tasting by a panel of independent wine experts. This year the panel included Charles Metcalf (Head of the Judging Panel, Founder & Co-Chairman of the International Wine Challenge), Tim Atkin (Master of Wine), Sarah Abbott (Master of Wine) and Peter McCombie (Master of Wine).

In JAL’s first entry since 2004, it was ranked first out of 33 airlines to win the coveted Gold Medal for Best First Class Red for our in-flight wine Kusuda Syrah 2013, Martinborough.

Judges made the following comments about this wine: “Rich with bloody meaty and spicy aromas. The palate is opulent, ripe and firm with delicate tannins.”

“It is a great honor that our in-flight wine, Kusuda Syrah 2013 received the Gold Medal for Best First Class Red,” said Hironori Tsunashima, Manager of JAL’s Products & Services Development. “This wine was produced by Japanese wine maker Mr. Hiroyuki Kusuda from Martinborough, New Zealand. We hope that more worldwide customers can enjoy the high quality wines produced by Kusuda, and our innovative products and services in the sky.”

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The oneworld® alliance, of which JAL is a member, has received the Best Airline Alliance for the wines served in-flight by its member airlines for the eighth year in a row.

Since becoming JAL’s Wine Advisor in February 2016, Japan’s first Wine Taster, Motohiro Okoshi has been working with qualified sommeliers among JAL’s cabin crew (flying sommeliers), to select outstanding in-flight wines for its customers.

The Kusuda Syrah joins the ranks of JAL’s other award-winning in-flight wines, including the International Wine Challenge medal-winners Suntory Japan Premium Koshu 2014 in Business Class and Vallereaux Brut Reserve N.V. in Premium Economy Class.

Additionally JAL will be supporting Japanese winemakers and winery owners who are exploring the world to make high quality wines. The airline will proactively introduce selected wines such as Ch.igai Takaha Sono Pinot Noir 2014, provided by winery owner Takahide Sugimoto.

Encouraged by this success, JAL will continue to strive to provide the highest quality service to every customer on every flight and work towards its ultimate goal of becoming the world’s most valued and preferred airline.




The producer of our award-winning wine is Hiroyuki Kusuda, a celebrated winemaker and Japanese national located in Martinborough, New Zealand. Kusuda has garnered international acclaim for his painstakingly produced, high quality wines, including an accolade from the British Master of Wine Jancis Robinson.


Business Traveller is, in its own words, the leading magazine for the frequent business traveller, with 14 editions worldwide. Launched in the UK in 1976, it is aimed at entertaining business travellers, saving them money and making their travelling life easier. Each edition is packed with editorial on the latest news about airlines, airports, hotels and car rental. Visit their website www.businesstraveller.com for more details.


Japan Airlines (JAL) was founded in 1951 and became the first international airline in Japan. A member of the oneworld alliance, the airline now reaches more than 331 airports in 53 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of more than 220 aircraft. JAL Mileage Bank (JMB), the airline's loyalty program, has reached over 31 million members worldwide. Named the Best Asia-Pacific Major Airline for On-time Performance in 2016 by FlightStats, JAL is committed to providing customers with the highest levels of flight safety and supreme quality in every aspect of its service, and aims to become the most preferred airline in the world.
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