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Grasshopper Rock flies high with Emirates

From the Central Otago News desk of Pam Jones:

An Alexandra basin vineyard is believed to have made the biggest wine sale ever recorded in Central Otago to an international airline. PAM JONES reports.

A record breaking wine sale by Earnscleugh vineyard Grasshopper Rock will put new eyes on Central Otago's wine industry and create valuable opportunities for the district, wine industry leaders say. Grasshopper Rock has announced the sale of a quarter of its 2013 pinot noir vintage — 14,400 bottles — to Emirates airline. The wine will be shipped before Christmas and is expected to be on Emirates' business class wine lists next year. Grasshopper Rock managing director Phil Handford said the deal was believed to be the biggest sale of wine to an international airline by a
Central Otago vineyard.

It was an ''exciting'' achievement and the follow up opportunities were even more exciting, Mr Handford said.

''It puts our wine on an international standing with an influential airline, influential travellers and potential buyers.''

Last year, Emirates unveiled a $500 million programme investing in wine internationally. The programme sees more than 1.2 million bottles ageing in Emirates' own cellar, some ready for drinking only after 2020.

Mr Handford said as well as the ''tremendous'' global reach and spotlight the sale would bring Grasshopper Rock, it would increase the profile of the Central Otago wine region.

''It will mean other people noticing, sampling and hopefully researching our [Central Otago] wines. I think there will definitely be a flow on effect and benefits for the entire Central Otago region.''

Grasshopper Rock has been owned by the same five families since its establishment in 2001. In 2012 it became the first Alexandra basin vineyard to win
the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show award, for its 2010 pinot noir.

Central Otago Wine Association (Cowa) president James Dicey said the Emirates deal was a ''magnificent'' milestone for Grasshopper Rock, and outstanding news for the Central Otago wine region.

''The key benefit for the region is that more people internationally are going to have the opportunity of trying a Central Otago wine in a high end environment. It adds to the long list of Central Otago wineries that have already sold into these sorts of environments. I applaud Grasshopper's result, and it's great news because of the brand association with Central Otago. And success breeds success: it's all cumulative [for Central Otago].''

Mr Dicey said another key initiative showed the maturing of Central Otago's wine industry. Cowa announced the establishment of a general manager position last month and Wellington business executive Glenys Coughlan would begin the role early next year.

Emirates - not your typical airline wine programme

To learn more about just how special it is have Grasshopper Rock poured for Emirates business class customers watch the video/s at this link. Especially the first video - Emirates' Wine Strategy and Planning. See more here