New Zealand’s Invivo & Co.—makers of celebrity-powered Sauvignon Blancs from Sarah Jessica Parker and Graham Norton, among them one of Wine Spectator’s 2020 Top 100 Wines of the Year—was already soaring before co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron decided it was time to take flight, literally.
Now preparing for takeoff: Invivo Air.
For its maiden voyage, Invivo Air has chartered a 34-seat Saab airplane to take passengers from Auckland on New Zealand's North Island to Queenstown on the South Island. Among the passengers will be members of Auckland’s hospitality and tourism industry, a handful of Invivo shareholders and a few lucky consumers screened from an ongoing application process.
“It’s a great way to highlight [that] New Zealand domestic tourism is open again after the latest 100-plus days of hard lockdown and to support our hospitality sector after they’ve had such an uncertain 24 months,” Lightbourne told Wine Spectator.
Passengers can expect a 24-hour adventure, including a visit to some of Invivo’s grapegrowers in Central Otago. Tickets are expected to cost about $900, and include return flights and a one-night stay at the Hilton Queenstown.
The 34-passenger inaugural flight was initially planned as a one-off, but based on the overwhelming interest—more than 700 people have already registered to fly with Invivo Air, and thousands more have inquired—additional Invivo Air routes are already being considered.
But Lightbourne says they aren’t purchasing a fleet of airplanes just yet. “We [will] need a bigger plane at some point. … Continuous domestic travel wasn’t planned, but due to the response we’ve had locally, the opportunity to fly further routes is now a real possibility.” Future destinations under consideration include Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne.
And Lightbourne is optimistic about Invivo Air’s future with international guests. “Once New Zealand also opens up to international travel, then I am sure we will also have international guests wanting to fly on Invivo Air.”
Interested wine-loving New Zealand residents aged 18 and up can register at InvivoAir.com by March 31 for their chance to fly the Kiwi skies—presumably more effectively than an actual kiwi.
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