The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Wine Flight back for second vintage

Premium New Zealand wines, paired with stunning views of the regions where they are produced, were on the inflight menu for leading international media and wine experts on Friday.

For the second successive year, New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand hosted more than 50 sommeliers, trade representatives and media, including writers from the New York Times and The Sunday Times Irish Edition on the unique Wine Flight over some of the nation’s key regions.

The Air New Zealand ATR aircraft departed Wellington and cruised at low-altitude (around 9,000 feet) offering passengers unrivalled views over Marlborough, Nelson, Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay, before landing in Napier.

Master of Wine Bob Campbell led guests on board through a tasting of wines from the regions they travelled over, including Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc and Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay, which feature in the airline’s Fine Wines of New Zealand selection, and Te Kairanga Chardonnay – a gold medallist at the 2016 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Operations Officer Bruce Parton says the Wine Flight continues the airline’s long-standing work championing the international profile of New Zealand wine.

“The passenger list spanned 14 countries and included wine writers and experts with extensive commercial influence and the ability to reach millions through their respective publications and social media networks. This experience will drive significant value for the New Zealand wine industry and inspire more travellers to visit our wineries for themselves.”

The group has been in New Zealand at an Aromatics Symposium in Nelson and Pinot Noir NZ event in Wellington and will attend a Classic Red Symposium in Hawke’s Bay this weekend.

New Zealand Winegrowers’ Global Marketing Director Chris Yorke says the Wine Flight has given this influential group a fantastic overview of New Zealand’s distinctive wine regions, with unrivalled views of the topography that shapes the nation’s award winning wines.

“We are delighted to continue our relationship with Air New Zealand to further promote New Zealand wine internationally and support wine tourism for our regions,” Mr Yorke says.

Wine is a key driver of tourism in New Zealand with 600,000 international visitors last year enjoying a winery visit as part of their itinerary.

Air New Zealand is a significant supporter of the New Zealand wine industry and will serve more than seven million glasses on board this year. Alongside its 30-year sponsorship of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the airline promotes New Zealand wine offshore through its Fine Wines of New Zealand initiative, an independently chosen list of 47 of the country’s best wines, from which it serves a selection in its Business Premier cabins.