One of Hawke's Bay's premium red wines is about to cover lots of kilometres and receive plenty of international exposure after being picked up by two major overseas airlines.

"It's very good for Hawke's Bay pinot noir," Sileni Estates CEO and president Sir Graeme Avery said.

Sileni Estate's 2015 Cellar Selection Pinot Noir is set to be served in Business Class cabins aboard American Airlines and British Airways flights after the company was successful with the tender processes to provide wines for the services.

The first glasses will be served on the daily Auckland to Los Angeles direct route this weekend.


Mr Avery said Sileni had an agent who handled the American business opportunities and was delighted the pinot noir had got the nod from American Airlines as the region did not receive the same recognition for the variety as others did.

"However, we struggle to keep up with demand for our Hawke's Bay pinot which is appreciated for its food friendly style."

Mr Avery said most pinot noir was grown for methode champenoise and Sileni was the largest producer of "still" pinot noir in the Bay.

"It drinks well at altitude as it is not over-extracted."

His delight doubled when he learned British Airways was also taking it aloft.

He paid tribute to the winery's specialist in red wines, Cairn Coghill, who works the red varieties under chief winemaker Grant Edmonds.

"To pick up something like that is really good - and good for Hawke's Bay overall," Mr Coghill said.

He is in his eighth year with Sileni and said his leaning toward red varieties was sparked by working on vintages in Oregon, where pinot noir is strong, and in the Bordeaux region of France.

"I enjoy the reds as there is so much more you can do with them," he said.

Like all wineries, Sileni had been blessed with a string of exceptional vintages.

"You can't complain at all - it's all smiles."

He said the news that two major airlines had picked it up was important in "pushing the Hawke's Bay pinot noir story".