British Airways appoints full-time Master of Wine to elevate premium experience

British Airways

British Airways has appointed a full-time Master of Wine in order to elevate its customers’ ground and in-flight premium experience.

Tim Jackson MW, will lead the selection of the airline’s drinks portfolio across its lounges and on board. Alongside selecting and tasting potential new wines, Jackson will also be in charge of curating British Airways’ menu descriptions, developing the airline’s wider drinks strategy and sourcing a diverse range of wines globally.

Part of the Master of Wine’s role will also include a sustained focus on taking into consideration differences in beer flavors, as well as taste and structure changes of all the airline’s beverages at altitude.

“I’m delighted to be the first person to take this position at British Airways. As an avid traveler, I have sampled wine from all corners of the globe, ranging from California to Chile, so I hope my love for travel, together with my experience and knowledge of beverages, will make a positive difference to the premium experience we offer our customers,” Jackson said in a statement.

“We are really excited to have Tim at British Airways. His knowledge and expertise play an integral role in our efforts to continue to deliver the premium experience that our customers look for when they fly with us and offer products that our colleagues are proud to serve,” Sajida Ismail, director of onboard experience at British Airways said.  

Ismail added:“Going forward, we also have lots of exciting plans that will champion new drink offerings and celebrate the global network that we fly to.”

Jackson’s first development as the airline’s Master of Wine is introducing new Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines to the airline’s premium cabins.

From January 2023, British Airways will also introduce a wine-selection strategy in First and Club World, showcasing different destinations across the airline’s network that produce premium wines. 

Difference between Master of Wine and a sommelier

According to the San Francisco Wine School, the Master Sommelier Diploma is the highest distinction a professional can obtain in beverage knowledge and service. 

The oral and practical exams to be a Master Sommelier include blind wine tasting and in-depth beverage theory, food pairing and formal dining room service for wines of the world, spirits, beer, sake, and even cigars. 

A Master of Wine program requires a more academic and theoretical approach.  Blind tasting is also required, however the exams are written and focus on wine analysis, international wine business, enology, and winemaking philosophy. A Master of Wine qualification does not include exams on service, dining room management, cigars, or other beverages. 

There are only 273 people who have earned the title of Master Sommelier, with just 415 considered Masters of Wine. There are just four people in the world who hold both titles.

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