The problem with air travel these days is that there’s just no class anymore. Flying used to be an event, one befitting of your Sunday Best and your finishing school manners. Now, one New Zealand winery is bringing a little finery back to the skies by becoming the world’s first winery airline. And I assure you that I will do what must be done: I will take one for the team and get shitty in the skies with an aerial wine tour.
I am truly, horrifyingly late to this news. When there’s wine involved, I am often one of the first people to pop her head out of whatever wretched hovel I’ve been inhabiting to ask, “Wine?” with my finest Grinchy grin. But over a month ago, New Zealand winery Invivo announced that it would start charting a Saab jet to run a 620-mile route from the North Island to the South Island — or from Auckland to Queenstown.
And this isn’t just a flight. This is a proper tour. Passengers will not only sample aerial wines, but they’ll be booked for an overnight stay in Queenstown, along with a tour of the vineyards that grow Invivo’s grapes.
Invivo says its airline is designed to restart domestic tourism in New Zealand by running its first flights for hospitality and tourism workers who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company also says it’s considering flights to other locations in New Zealand, as well. But right now, the best you can do is register your interest in taking a wine flight and hope for the best.
Now, I am not a New Zealander, nor am I hospitality or tourism worker who has suffered losses due to COVID-19. I am, however, a white woman who has seriously considered purchasing a “wine o’clock” sign to put in her kitchen. I am the person who will buy you a wine tour for your birthday but include a second ticket with the expectation that you will bring me. I am the person who used to make weekly trips to downtown Philadelphia for one purpose: Drinking my way through the wine list at various restaurants. I am the perfect candidate for this winery airline concept should it ever expand beyond its current constraints.
But, damn. What a great idea.