Villa Maria Estate has claimed the title of New Zealand's Most Awarded Wines for over thirty consecutive years.
It is not easy to tell your Dad that you are quitting a career in carpentry to try your hand at making wine. But in 1961, at the age of 21, that's exactly what Sir George Fistonich did. He leased five acres of land from his father, planted one acre with grapes and started making wine under the name 'Villa Maria' which he chose because his friends thought it sounded European. Since those first cuttings took hold in the soil out in Mangere, near Auckland, Sir George has been determined to be at the cutting edge of quality winegrowing.
Sir George Fistonich, Owner and Managing Director "Uppermost in my mind as we grow is that we should maintain the principles with which we started over 50 years ago: the pursuit of quality, innovation and passion for a particular style that is New Zealand. Above all, we want to make wines that everyone can enjoy, everywhere."
Still 100% New Zealand and family owned, Villa Maria Estate has gone from strength to strength over the last 50 years and is now distributed in over 50 countries worldwide. Sir George's dedication to quality remains unwavering and as a result, Villa Maria Estate has claimed the title of New Zealand's Most Awarded Wines for over thirty consecutive years.
Villa Maria Vineyards
Villa Maria sources the finest grapes from New Zealand's premium grape growing regions; Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. Grapes are grown in company owned vineyards and by dedicated contract growers who work closely with Villa Maria's viticultural team.
The team has representatives in each major region and a major investment in Hawkes Bay. They not only manage Villa Maria's own vineyards and developments, but also provide a complete advisory service to its growers. The ability to select the right sites and develop and manage these vineyards to specific wine styles and quality goals has been a major factor in Villa Maria's success.
In 1993 Villa Maria established Seddon Vineyards of Marlborough, a company in which the public could buy shares and whose aim was to develop a 42 hectare vineyard in Marlborough. Villa Maria is contracted to purchase the grapes from the vineyard at market prices. The success of this venture led to the launch of another in 1998, Terra Vitae Vineyards, which has developed two vineyard sites in Hawkes Bay and one in Marlborough. The two companies later merged under the Terra Vitae name and continue to provide Villa Maria with premium fruit.
Villa Maria Winery
Villa Maria has two modern wineries. The stunning state-of-the-art Auckland winery and vineyard park is built in the collapsed crater of an extinct volcano and was opened in 2005. A dedicated visitor centre is open to the public 7 days a week offering tastings and tours of the winery. The Marlborough winery is set in beautiful scenery just outside the small town on Blenheim. Both wineries have been designed to a 50-year expansion plan and have won awards for their architecture. At Villa Maria winemaking is very much a team effort. Guardian of the group's winemaking, since October 2002, is Alastair Maling MW. Alastair has extensive international winemaking experience and in 2000 he became only the sixth New Zealander to pass the prestigious Master of Wine exam. As General Manager Winemaking & Viticulture he oversees the winemaking at all the winery sites as well as having overall responsibility for viticulture.
Supporting Alastair are George Geris, the Villa Maria Chief Marlborough Winemaker and Nick Picone, Senior Winemaker based at the Auckland winery.
This highly experienced team bring their international experience and new ideas to Villa Maria whilst maintaining the core winemaking philosophy based on a non-intrusive style, which allows the flavours of the grapes and the character of the vineyards to be expressed by the wine.
Quality Standards: Villa Maria is certified to the following standards:
- ISO 9001 : 2000 Quality Management System
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard
- British Retail Consortium Standards - Higher Level Certification
- HACCP - Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (Food Saftey Management System)