English Sparkling Wines in Club World
After a few supply issues (which I now suspect may have been due to this switchover) and spotting the dreaded Castel-no making a reappearance, British Airways has introduced award-winning English Sparkling wines in its Club World. BA recently hired a new master of wine, and I have definitely started to see an uptick in the quality of wines onboard and in the lounges. However, it does appear that this will replace the current rosé option.
The airline’s Master of Wine has worked carefully with several award-winning wineries to source, taste and select a range of English Sparkling wines. The introduction of four English Sparkling wines in Club World is new as previously you could only find it in the First cabin with Hattingley Valley from Hampshire. I’ve always said I’d rather have a good-quality sparkling wine than a bad-quality champagne.
The four English Sparkling wine options will be available on a rotating basis, changing every three months. Like now, you will be able to choose from two sparkling options when travelling in Club World. This will be one champagne which is Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Silver Top Non-Vintage Champagne, ( not to be confused with the previous Blue top that was served in Club Europe) and now an English Sparkling wine option.
The first English Sparkling wine will be the Digby Fine English Brut NV, which has been matured for over three years. It is not one I am personally familiar with (and I’ve had a lot of sparkling wine!) but I look forward to trying it onboard when I travel in a few weeks.
From July, the airline will serve the Balfour Rosé de Noirs, grown on the Balfour Hush Heath Estate in Kent, and made only from red grapes. This lighter rosé sparkling wine is an exclusive blend for British Airways, making it only available for customers in the Club World cabin. This is the only one that BA are serving that I am familiar with and have enjoyed.
Later in the year, Simpsons Chalklands Cuvee Brut NV, from Kent will be available from October for three months. This is pale gold in colour, with delicate notes of crisp green apple.
Finally, Wiston Estate Brut NV from the South Downs, is refreshing in flavour, with citrus and toasty notes and available for customers to try in the airline’s Club World cabin from January 2024.
British Airways’ Director of Onboard Experience, Sajida Ismail, said: “We know English Sparkling wines have attracted international acclaim over the years and are only growing in popularity, so we’re really excited to offer our customers English Sparkling wines in our Club World cabin.“We’re really proud to work with four of the very best wine producers across England to celebrate British provenance and bring exclusive sparkling options for customers to try for themselves on board.”
The airline continues to spotlight a destination through its premium wine selection, celebrating a different destination in its network each quarter. In April, the airline will spotlight wines from the regions surrounding the city of Porto, Portugal, in its Club World and First cabins, including Anselmo Mendes’ Muros Antigos Loureiro Vinho Verde and Casa Ferreirinha’s Callabriga Douro.
Elsewhere, British Airways has launched Whispering Angel Provence Rosé and The Pale, curated from the same Château d’Esclans vineyards in the BA lounges at London Heathrow and London Gatwick.
There was also an interesting sentence at the end of the press release that stated, “The airline has also been trialling menu variations and service styles with the airline’s cabin crew to ensure they meet customers’ expectations.” I have no idea what it means but hopefully, it means things improve. More than anything, I’d just like some consistency from BA crew in terms of how attentive/friendly they are.
You’re not going to get consistency of attention from crew now. Legacy crews that were world class have been pushed out for younger cheaper aspirational millennials and Gen Zs and most are now mixed fleet so bad habits formed on short haul European flights (too numerous to mention) are going to be widely seen. Nice training and probation ends it’s up to each CSM’s standards and commitment to keep an eye on things. But when said CSM has lower standards you’re not going to get any consistency across the fleet. The airline’s once proud distinction of (like the old BBC) having the highest and most enviable standards are now an historic and nostalgic unicorn.
…yet people keep returning to BA in their masses, throwing money at them faster than they can blink! No good passengers constantly complaining about things and then returning time and time again – no incentive for BA to care. This is why Club Europe is an economy seat with a bit of food and drink!
I have to disagree with you on Club Europe. Other than Turkish it’s the standard for European business class. Air France, KLM, Swiss to name a few all have the same and I’d argue you actually get more food on BA in Club Europe than you do on some other airlines. Unfortunately for many routes if you want to fly direct in business class there is no alternative to BA which is the main reason people fly them.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree. I don’t think having a crew that is nearly all made up of new people is a good thing, especially since BA has struggled to recruit enough. And I very much agree it is down to the onboard managers to manage. You can tell the difference when you have an IFM that is on the ball.
I work in First quite a lot and if an English bottle is open, it is usually the only one that is opened and half full when it gets tipped at the end of the flight. Most feedback relates to being too sweet or just generally “not nice” but it’s great that someone new with something novel is showcased.
BAtrainer wants a response but won’t get one from me and Michele I think it was a little disingenous to publish the comment considering how often crew have contributed with information that responds to some of your questions, such as some new working methods. This is just a rant from the heart of the cancer that needs to be cut out at BA. Sean Doyle has such good intentions but it’s this that prevents anyone from benefiting.
You could always ask when you come on board and learn about our Club world working zones and the new First initiative. I would love to have a chance to meet a blogger and chat. You could always build “inside info” into your words but you don’t you feed the same monster and on a wider scale if the reasons for complaints were removed from the English experience, then you’d all get sucked into a vacuum of fear and self doubt.
I say English because Scottish and N. Irish people are wholly different, something I didn’t know when the country was a small looking island on the other side of the world.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think a lot of people prefer the style of champagne as it does taste different to English sparkling wine but personally I like both. And English sparkling wine does vary like champagne.
I don’t agree that I can’t comment on my views as a customer of BA. I may be a blogger but I’m also a GGL who spends a lot of my own money flying BA and like most GGLs and Club customers are frustrated with the current state of affairs.
I know crew personally and appreciate the contributions that they make here. So I do often get the inside track. I understand that BA is at fault here rather than crew. It is BA’s job to ensure crew are trained and managed properly and have the appropriate tools to do the job and are paid adequately.
However, most of my readers like me spend a lot of money with BA and one of the most frequent complaints is about consistency of crew. So I don’t think it’s unfair to comment on that.
The fact that I say it’s inconsistent is because there are some amazing crews and some not so amazing crews… so it’s a compliment to those that are doing the job well.
I do try to talk to the crew onboard if they know who I am but generally when I’m travelling I want to remain incognito as I don’t want to get special treatment. Otherwise I can’t write an impartial review.
I would add as a GGL who predominantly flies short haul on BA I certainly can comment. The standard of cabin crews and onboard service is definitely poor atm. Slow service, inability to do it properly, crew making up their own routines, and failing to do the service on shorter routes. Any crew who think all is fine have firmly got their head in the sand.
There are still some good crew out there. But there are clearly too many who have no experience, or are just serving their time out to retirement now. Some IFLs are good, many are not.
Thank you. That sums up the situation well.
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