Wine makes a splash on the high seas

Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:01am EDT
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - People who cruise on the high seas expect wonderful food with wines to match, but how do those bottles of Haut-Brion find their way onto a table in the middle of the ocean?

Fine wine has three enemies: heat, light and movement. So ensuring that the Bordeaux or Barolo isn't banged about on an ocean voyage is tricky, as is deciding which wines to carry.

Britain's Seabourn Cruises, which has four ships that usually ply the Baltic and Mediterranean seas with no more than 400 passengers prefers to stock just a few bottles of the high-end wines such as Petrus, Haut-Brion and Palmer aboard,

"We don't keep the hundreds of bottles as others do. We keep the bottles shore side and take them on as needed ... That way, they're not shaken about for months and months," said Tony Eggers, the luxury cruise line's wine director.

Both the Queen Mary 2, which can carry 2,600 passengers and the Queen Victoria, which can accommodate slightly less, have some of the most extensive wine lists at sea, Edward Dieusaert, Cunard Line's product manager for food and beverage, said.

He explained that the wines are kept in the lowest part of the ship to minimize any movement.

Champagne, sparkling and white wines are stored in a chilled room, while the reds are in a separate location. Each dining room requisitions their wines from the storage areas on a daily basis, he added.

Aboard a Holland America ship, which has a fleet of 15 vessels, the main wine list is kept to around 120 selections.   Continued...

<p>The Queen Mary 2 cruise liner arrives in Sydney, February 26, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz</p>