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Air New Zealand Puts Kiwi Wines To The Test

Air New Zealand Puts Kiwi Wines To The Test

Air New Zealand's international passengers enjoy more than 800,000 bottles of wine each year and over just two days four top wine experts are responsible for tasting and selecting which wines will be served.

Every six months Air New Zealand invites all New Zealand wineries to submit wines for blind tasting. On average about 380 to 400 wines are received but this year the quotient is 430. From this, a range of wines will be chosen for inflight international service and select Koru Lounges.

The panel of wine experts judge the submissions on specific qualities such as how they will "travel" at 35,000 feet, a key consideration as some elegant wines 'die' in taste terms when subjected to cabin pressurisation, passenger stress and humidity.

The men with this challenging task are Dr John Buck (OBE), managing director Te Mata Estate Havelock North, Jim Harre, Air New Zealand inflight service director, John Belsham, owner of Foxes Island Winery Marlborough and Peter Nixon, wine consultant for World Wine Estates in Australia. The first three wine experts are veterans of the Air New Zealand wine selection programme.

Right now Air New Zealand's glass runneth over with wine activity. Apart from its own wine selection the airline is gearing up for three days of intense tasting and judging for the 2003 Air New Zealand Wine Awards starting Monday, a process chaired by John Belsham.

"Air New Zealand's inflight wine service and its Koru Lounges showcase some of the best selection of New Zealand wine on the international stage. Often the first experience international visitors have of New Zealand wines is on their Air New Zealand inbound flight so we naturally take our selection process seriously," says Air New Zealand Vice President Marketing & Alliances Ed Sims.

"Air New Zealand has been the major sponsor of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards for 17 years. Like our own wine selection process the awards' judging is in-depth and rigorous, designed to find the very best of this country's wine. We look forward to learning which wines take the top accolades when the results are announced next month."

More than 1230 wines have been entered in the 2003 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The 21-strong judging panel will review the entries from Monday October 27 to Wednesday October 29 at the North Harbour Stadium.

The medal winners are announced on Thursday November 6 with the category and Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show revealed at an awards dinner at the Sheraton Hotel, Auckland on Saturday November 8.

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