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The World’s First Winery Airline Lets You Enjoy Guided Tastings at 18,000 Feet

Invivo Air's first flight is scheduled for January 31.

Invivo Air aircraft Courtesy of Invivo Air

Jet-setting oenophiles just got another reason to toast the arrival of 2023.

The world’s first winery airline will begin flights this coming January. Invivo Air is the brainchild of Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron. The savvy duo is behind New Zealand’s acclaimed wine company Invivo and thus brings a wealth of experience to this new, sky-high endeavor.

The inaugural jaunt, which is scheduled for January 31, will take passengers from Auckland on the North Island to Queenstown on the South Island in the Invivo Air Saab 340 plane. Fliers will have the chance to enjoy an eight-part guided wine tasting at 18,000 feet. You’ll receive pours of the award-winning Invivo range, including blends that were created by Graham Norton and Sarah Jessica Parker, no less. The plonk will be expertly paired with a selection of local Kiwi snacks, naturally.

If you’re not big on drinking, don’t fret. Attendants will also be serving low- and non-alcoholic drinks to keep any teetotalers engaged in the experience. A curated playlist compiled by Invivo co-founder Rob, who happens to be the lead guitarist of local band Razorback Road, will serve as the soundtrack for the trip.

Invivo Air overnight stay at the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Views from the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa. Invivo Air

Two hours after the noon departure, you’ll descend into Queenstown’s scenic airport, which offers views of the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. You’ll then head to one of Invivo’s oldest vineyards, Legends Terrace in Otago, for a tasting overlooking the historic gold mining town of Bannockburn.

Come evening, you’ll be welcomed at the Botswana Butchery for a lavish dinner. The upscale restaurant, which showcases the best Queenstown produce, will be reserved exclusively for Invivo Air passengers for the night. Lightbourne and Cameron will host the decadent four-course meal and pour matching Invivo vintages. To top it off, you’ll spend the night at the five-star Hilton Queenstown Resort and Spa in a lakeside room with a view.

Bluff Oyster on the menu at Botswana Butchery
Bluff Oyster on the menu at Botswana Butchery. Invivo Air

“We’re thrilled to open Invivo Air to the public and deliver a truly unique experience for those that come on board,” Cameron said in a statement. “We’ll be tasting some stunning drops in some truly epic locations.”

Launched in 2008, Invivo has become famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Pinot Noir. It has won a bonkers 250 medals and trophies for its wines, which are also produced in Australia, Italy and France. Invivo even mixes up gin with folks in Cork, Ireland. Perhaps Lightbourne and Cameron will launch a gin airline next.

Invivo X, SJP wine by Sarah Jessica Parker
Invivo X, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker being poured for guests. Invivo Air

As for the fine print, each ticket costs roughly $660 and covers your flights, experiences, meals, drinks and ground transportation. The first flight is, unfortunately, sold out, but you can head to the airline’s website and register to receive updates on new itineraries.

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