Thursday, July 18, 2024
Home / Lifestyle  / Wine Tours Fly High

Wine Tours Fly High

Boutique helicopter company Heliview Flights is gaining in standing for its adventurous wine tours which provide exceptional Central Otago food and wine experiences.

The family owned business is operated by Richard and Jolanda Foale who are upbeat about their company’s achievements especially being named as the first New Zealand helicopter company to hold a Qualmark Enviro Silver award.

“We have made it our mission to show visitors the best of what the Central Otago’s wine and food scene is all about and that means both on the ground and from above,” says Jolanda. “We love direct bookings as it gives us the opportunity to work with clients directly to make their day special. The tours themselves end up being casual and relaxed and totally focused on the guests on the day – between the two of us  we are their personal guide, driver, pilot and photographer to commemorate their day.”

Heliview’s range of tour options include scenic flights and heli mountain biking and alpine landings. However, it is their distinctive food and wine tours that have captured the market.

“Our Heli Gold Wine Tour is hugely popular and an exclusive day out that is loads of fun. We fly and land on the lawn at the Cloudy Bay Tasting shed which is pretty special experience. The professional Cloudy Bay team take us through the wine making process from vine to bottle. After tasting some of their premium wines our guests are escorted by Jeep Wrangler onto the next stage of the adventure visiting some of the smaller, authentic wineries of the region, to meet the winemakers and continue the tasting experience.”

Heliview Flights operates the tours from their base at the Cromwell Racecourse Aerodrome.

Richard is the chief pilot having flown for 35 years since beginning his flying career with the British Army Air Corps. Jolanda’s background in Swiss hospitality and tourism management makes her the ideal operations manager and head tour guide. Her knowledge of Central Otago food and wine is exceptional.

“It’s fun to create special experiences for people and the feedback we get is always positive. We enjoy collaborating with local winemakers like Mount Michael who are part of our Wine Tasting at Altitude tour aimed at the true wine connoisseur,” she says. “It’s a tailored experience guided by a senior member of their vineyard team. Guests get to sip a glass of Mount Michael wine and enjoy delicious food while sitting on the top of Mount Michael itself.”

Heli dining is an impressive way to entertain friends and business colleagues.

“This is actually one of our most affordable options that can be scaled up or down depending on what guests want. We fly to one of our local wineries to enjoy a two-course lunch or to the Stoaker Room in Cromwell for their banquets platter and a flight of five-world class Wild Earth wines,” says Jolanda.

“With Kiwis unable to travel overseas due to Covid-19 we are getting a lot of demand for flights for special birthdays, celebrations and anniversaries which are our favourite tours to cater for. It can be such a wonderful treat for people that really elevates their special day.”

Picnic with a Difference

Showcasing Central Otago grown produce is at the heart of Heliview Flights Central Otago Picnic tours.

Operations Manager Jolanda Foale says they have designed a high-country picnic package that brings together local fruit, meat, cheese and wine.

“Our picnics are specially crafted by Charlotte & Christina of The Little Platter Company who are absolute foodies and take pride in supporting local producers. Their picnic platters include special products like Akaroa Salmon, Central Otago venison, Whitestone cheese and a glass or two of Central Otago’s finest Methode Traditionelle from Quartz Reef winery.”