|Villa Maria Estate celebrates 50 years|
New Zealand’s most awarded winery marks 50 years since the first vintage of Villa Maria wine was bottled by founder and owner Sir George Fistonich.
To celebrate this exceptional milestone Sir George is hosting 50th vintage celebration events in Villa Maria Estate’s key export markets throughout the next six months. His road show commenced in the United States and Canada in May, to be followed by events in Asia, Europe and New Zealand later in the year, to celebrate 50 years of exceptional winemaking.
In 1961, George leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started off with just an acre of vines. He harvested his first grapes in 1962 and made his first wine.
Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was virtually a one-man band, with George’s wife, Gail, supporting him in his venture. He made dry red and white wines, sourcing grapes from the greater Auckland region. In the early 1970s he started to employ staff and the company began to expand rapidly.
Today, Villa Maria remains proudly 100% New Zealand and family owned employing more than 250 permanent staff. The company has two state-of-the-art winery facilities in Auckland and Marlborough, and exports premium New Zealand wine to over 50 countries worldwide.
As an icon of the industry, Villa Maria is known for its bold and industry-changing moves, such as moving to 100% screwcap through to the emphasis on sustainable practices in every area of the company.
“Great wine starts with exceptional vineyards and exceptional people. If you have these foundations, you have the best chance of making the best wines,” says Fistonich.