Air New Zealand Launches Wine Scholarship

11 November 2006

Air New Zealand will literally take our most promising young winemakers to the world with the addition of a new 12-month wine scholarship to its Inspiring New Zealanders Scholarship programme.

The scholarship, aimed at apprentice winemakers, was announced tonight at the annual Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Hawke’s Bay (Saturday 11 November) by Air New Zealand
Chief Executive Rob Fyfe.

The scholarship winner, who will be selected by a panel of industry experts, will be mentored by New Zealand wine luminary John Belsham and receive a year of money-can’t-buy experiences.

Highlights of the wine scholarship include:

• Participation in the 2007 vintage of a prestigious Northern Hemisphere winery specialising in the recipient’s chosen style
• Guest associate judge with John Belsham at Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2007
• Time spent with other leading New Zealand winemakers

Air New Zealand has long supported the New Zealand wine industry and tonight celebrates 20 years of involvement with the country’s most prestigious wine awards.

Mr Fyfe said the new scholarship reflected Air New Zealand’s commitment to showcasing the best of New Zealand, and nurturing industry support from the grassroots.

“As the single largest server of wine in the country, we are unashamedly passionate about supporting the New Zealand wine industry,” says Mr Fyfe. “Each year some 820,000 bottles of wine are consumed on Air New Zealand flights. As one of the most important aspects of our international in-flight experience, we dedicate significant time and effort to ensure we serve the very best wines.”

“It would be fantastic for us to one day see wines by the apprentice we support through this programme offered as part of our prestigious in-flight line-up.”

Mr Fyfe said Air New Zealand had been fortunate to gain the support of winemaker John Belsham to mentor the scholarship recipient.

Mr Belsham, who is the owner/wine maker at Marlborough’s Foxes Island Wines, is one of this country’s most respected wine producers. A wine consultant to Air New Zealand since July 2000, he has extensive international experience and is highly regarded within the industry.

Mr Belsham said today it was a privilege to be involved with the Inspiring New Zealanders programme.

“I am enormously proud that our industry and myself as a mentor have been chosen by Air New Zealand for the evolution of its Inspiring New Zealanders programme,” he said.

“The recipient of this scholarship, under my mentorship, will be encouraged to develop their skills in a unique 12-month experience that will encompass unforgettable New Zealand and International opportunities. “

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan welcomed the scholarship, saying it would give a huge boost to those looking to carve a name and reputation in the industry.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for one of our talented young winemakers who is looking to learn from the best in the business,” he said. “They and the New Zealand wine producers will benefit enormously from the airline’s vision and investment in our dynamic industry.”

Applications are open to apprentice New Zealand winemakers. Finalists will be interviewed by a panel including John Belsham, Steve Smith of Craggy Range, George Fistonich of Villa Maria and Kate Radburnd of CJ Pask.

Applications open online at www.inspiringnewzealanders.com from 1st Dec 06 and close 12 Jan 07. The scholarship will run from Feb 07 to Jan

About Air New Zealand’s Inspiring New Zealanders Programme

Inspiring New Zealanders is the title of a scholarship programme that involves “inspiring” New Zealanders, who have achieved the highest level of achievement in their field, providing inspiration and guidance to the next generation of talented New Zealanders.

Air New Zealand currently offers Olympic Sport Scholarships, with recipients mentored by Barbara Kendall, Hamish Carter, Bevan Docherty, Sarah Ulmer and Claudia Riegler. In July Air New Zealand launched a fashion scholarship, to be mentored by Karen Walker.

For more information visit http://www.inspiringnewzealanders.com