In July, TAP announced its intention to renew and expand its wine list, and small, medium and large national producers were quick to respond. The tender the company launched ended with 812 wines from 124 producers making the long list, representing a 60% increase on TAP’s previous wine list, which was introduced in 2013.
On 7 September a panel of 10 tasters, which included specialist journalists, wine critics and sommeliers, selected the 50 wines that will be included on TAP’s Executive Class wine list from next January. The tastings, which took place on board CS-TOW, the aircraft with the Portugal Stopover livery, and the harmonisation with meals completed the two days of blind tasting at the Myriad Crystal Centre in Lisbon. More than 200 red, white, green, sparkling, muscatel and port wines were assessed for inclusion on the short list to be tested in the air.
Based on the same contest and with a pre-selection of 60 wines, in October there will be another series of technical tests to select the reds and whites that will be part of the Economy Class in-flight service.
The producers whose wines are not chosen as one of the 50 on the wine list will have the chance to offer their products through TAP on routes or to markets that are strategically important to their business, meaning the ability to promote Portuguese wine remains open to all those who want to be associated with the airline.
Through this project TAP now has four different wine lists that are renewed every six months and which will be the calling card most representative of the diversity and quality of wines the airline’s clients can expect to find when they arrive in Portugal. A total of 2.5 million bottles of Portuguese wine will be acquired over the next two years to be served to the more than 12 million passengers who choose to fly with TAP on the 85 routes it will serve by the end of 2017.
TAP has already announced that this Wine Experience will include a number of other initiatives, including certified wine training for crewmembers, an exclusive wine tour of Portugal with opinion makers, wine specialists and journalist from a number of countries, and the organisation of international events to capture new markets, with particular focus on Brazil and North America, and a number of initiatives to be announced shortly.