You Can Now Have A Wine Tasting At 18,000 Feet

The phrase "flying the friendly skies" might be a misnomer. As travelers leave the couch and satisfy that sense of wanderlust, air travel soars to busier and busier levels. Although the nostalgic imagery of the early concepts of air travel looks luxurious, today's reality can be more sparse. Even as the bar cart knocks a knee or two, the joys of soaring through the clouds might be more of a mirage. But one New Zealand airline is looking to uncork a more pleasurable travel experience, one wine glass at a time.

With 2023 travel trends coming into focus, Forbes predicts "bleisure," sustainable practices, and other concepts will impact the hows and why people leave their homes. But the idea of "normal" travel may never come into focus. Even though some people long to stretch out in the luxurious business class seating with the overflowing amenities, the reality can be far different for the normal traveler. Still, some airlines are looking to set themselves apart by appealing to a particular segment. 

Invivo Air, based in New Zealand, looks to take wine tourism to new heights. Whether or not the company is truly the "world's first winery airline" can be debated, but the concept is one that Simply Flying says may be adapted by more destinations. Could this airline model be the ultimate escape for oenophiles?

Is the wine tasting worth the trip?

While many airlines invite travelers to "come fly with us" or "go beyond expectations," the reality is that much of airline travel is not the wanderlust presented on the carefully curated social media account. But New Zealand company Invivo Airlines wants to offer travelers an "all-inclusive viticulture vacation." The two-day, one night escape includes an "eight-step wine tasting at 18,000 feet." The short flight from Auckland to Queensland looks to give a limited amount of travelers on the Air Saab 340 plane wine tastings, snacks, and on-board entertainment.

Although much is being said about the wine tasting in the clouds, this concept is more than a sip and fly; it's about the New Zealand wine experience. The events on the ground in Queensland are as important as the pours close to the cockpit. The concept is to turn travel from start to finish into a total experience; the inaugural trip is already sold out.

Instead of just a spot in the lounge and a seat beyond the curtain, the traveler never has to lift a finger. For the wine lover who has explored Tuscany, Napa, or even Champagne, appreciating the nuances of tasting a Marlborough wine at new heights might elevate the experience.

Could wine tasting on airplanes become a luxury travel trend?

Although the regular traveler might get some pretzels and maybe a soda, business-class (and above) travelers crave more high-end offerings. Along with that increased price tag comes with the perks of extra leg room, and special beverages are available, even before the plane leaves the runway. 

As discussed by CNA Luxury, several airlines offer elevated wines for their premium cabins. Instead of the screw-top mini bottles, the curated wine offerings can celebrate the company's origins, specialty food and beverage pairings, and more.

As airlines continue to fight over travel dollars spent, the food and beverage options can make a difference for people with deep pockets. British Airways, for instance, has added a "master of wine" to revamp its beverage program across the board. Delta has put small businesses and women-led and LGBTQ+ brands front and center in its offerings. While cost might continue to drive some people's purchases, the travel experience makes a lasting impression. For those wanting to have it all, airline companies might need to start popping bottles for those travelers who are willing to open their wallets.