Fine Wines
of New Zealand

Fine Wines
of New Zealand

New Zealand produces a range of world-class wines, renowned for their purity, vibrancy and unique characteristics.

The result of an annual search, it is curated by seven of New Zealand's leading wine experts — Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Emma Jenkins, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas.

The X Finest Wines of 2018

2018's List

Previous Years

The X Finest Wines of 2017

2017's List

The X Finest Wines of 2016

2016's List

From New Zealand’s Finest Wineries

New Zealand’s plentiful vineyards are located in spectacular locations, from sun drenched maritime regions to high alpine environments. These naturally stunning and distinct regions are home to bold pioneers, people who create wine that is famous for its purity, vibrancy and intensity with a freshness that could only come from here.

Great wine isn't the result of a bit of luck and good vintage, it's years of hard-work and complex perseverance.

Simon Nash

Master of Wine

Chosen by
the Masters


With any wine it’s the climate that has the final say.

The Criteria

World-class quality and consistency – a high barrier to inclusion consisting of wine quality, wine pedigree and longevity. A wine that can truly stand the test of time as a world-class example of New Zealand’s finest wine.

A Rigorous

The Search

Each of the panel members is charged with a specific wine variety. Submissions are sought from the wine industry and the panel members then put forward their recommendation of what they consider to be the finest examples within each of their respective varietals.

Group Tasting

These wines are then presented to three other members of the panel at the group tasting event. Each of the wines are tasted and robustly debated with a refined selection agreed on from the initial offering.

Collective Agreement

This refined selection is finally presented to the entire Fine Wines of New Zealand wine panel. The wines are once more tasted and debated, the wines that are collectively agreed upon made the list and if any member feels the wine did not meet the criteria it is excluded.

This is a first for New Zealand. I don’t think anything like this has been attempted before.

John Belsham

Winemaker & Air New Zealand Wine Consultant

them for yourself

Air New Zealand is a patron to Fine Wines of New Zealand, providing promotional support to the wineries onboard and through its marketing channels. From the Fine Wines of New Zealand list, the Air New Zealand Wine Consultants have selected the best wines to serve at altitude. This selection will be served onboard in Business Premier cabins throughout the year alongside the existing wine offering.

John Belsham

Air New Zealand Wine Consultant

Jim Harre

Air New Zealand Wine Consultant

Altitude makes
a difference

Some wines taste different onboard — it's because of the altitude. The Air New Zealand Wine Consultants Jim Harre and John Belsham know all about this and the science behind it, and that's why they were brought in to make sure only the right Fine Wines of New Zealand are served onboard.

Is your wine

Fine Wines of New Zealand is now calling for submissions

to the 2019 Fine Wines programme.

Submissions due

Friday 9th November, 2018

Notification of acceptance

Friday 30th November, 2018

Tasting bottles due*

Friday 15th February, 2019

*2 bottles of current release (3 if under cork)
1 bottle of previous 2 releases (2 if under cork)

The Charter

The Fine Wines of New Zealand charter outlines the intent of the programme and the selection process that our Fine Wines of New Zealand wine panel will undertake.