Air France appoints Xavier Thuizat as new head sommelier – Business Traveller


Xavier Thuizat has been appointed as Air France’s new head sommelier, and will be responsible for selecting the carrier’s future wine, champagne and spirit lists.

Thuizat – who is also head sommelier at Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris – takes over from Paolo Basso, who has been selecting for Air France for the past decade.

Burgundy-born Thuizat will work alongside Air France to organise blind tastings in all of the wine-growing regions of France, and will put together the wine, champagne and spirits lists across all of the carrier’s cabins and lounges at its Paris airports.

Thuizat – whose awards include Meilleur Sommelier de France in 2022, Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2023 and Michelin Guide’s Grand Prix de la Sommellerie 2024 – will also be responsible for selecting a new range of French beers for the airline.

Air France said that over a million bottles of Champagne and eight million bottles of wine are served to its customers each year.

In December 2022 British Airways appointed a new dedicated Master of Wine in an attempt to “elevate the premium experience for its customers both on the ground and in the air”.

Tim Jackson MW sources new wines for BA, as well as curating menu descriptions and developing the airline’s wider drinks strategy for all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

British Airways appoints full-time Master of Wine

Commenting on the news Fabien Pelous, Air France’s SVP customer experience, said:

“I would like to thank Paolo Basso, who for ten years has been committed to promoting the finest wines from France’s vineyards for all our customers, in our lounges and on board our aircraft. I am delighted to welcome Xavier Thuizat who, I am sure, will continue in this role with just as much talent and passion.”

Each year Business Traveller conducts the Cellars in the Sky Awards, celebrating the best red, white, sparkling and fortified wines served by airlines in business and first class.

To read the results of the most recent awards, see:

Cellars in the Sky 2023


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