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DrinksTrade29AugustSeptember2012

Nmost ‘ordinary’ glass. When you carefully peer through the wine fridgeone of us vie for the average bottle of wine. We all possess individualtastes but when the sommelier fronts the table you don’t ask for their door you’re not searching for the word ‘standard’ or ‘regular’. Sure we look for an attractive price point but what we really salivate over is a sumptuous glass that goes above and beyond our expectations, a glass that blends mental and physical satisfaction, ultimately a glass that will be remembered. Such things only come from the extraordinary, a pursuit Villa Maria Estate knows well. Out of the Ordinary Look back to the day before Sir George Fistonich leased five acres from his father to start Villa Maria, filling one acre with vines, and you’ll find a relatively ordinary if not desolate New Zealand wine market; a territory that was dominated by sherry and port with the only exception being a variety of international wines. So, defying the norm and launching a home-grown wine company at the age of 21 may have seemed risky or downright crazy to some, but Sir George Fistonich was never willing to settle for ordinary. Throughout the 1960’s George ran Villa Maria as a one-man band, with his faithful wife, Gail, by his side supporting him in his wild endeavour. Taking the skills he learnt from growing up in a Croatian household that indulged in making wine at home, George made dry red and white wines. He sourced grapes from the greater Auckland regions and travelled across the country raising the profile of the Villa Maria brand and building up demand from both retailers and customers through his presentations and tastings. In the early 1970’s he started to employ staff and the company began to expand rapidly. The Villa Maria name was born originally out of a café where George and his friends felt the company should have an international ring to it. Today, that ring is much more of a resounding toll as Villa Maria exports to over 50 countries worldwide. A success George attributes to his team’s passion and commitment to producing the best wines possible, but many would also say it is George’s extraordinary vision and drive that has augmented the company’s prevailing nature. Like many ground-breaking companies, Villa Maria knows no limits. For a savvy businessman like George, there is no ‘impossible’ when it comes to wine. Because of this, Villa Maria has continued to reap the rewards of a vision unbound by restrictions. Since the early 1980’s the wine company has been New Zealand’s most award-winning winery, consistently winning prizes from both national and international competitions. The company’s success started with the very first vintage. George entered his first red wines in the 1963 Villa Maria Estate vintage advertisement drinks trade 89


DrinksTrade29AugustSeptember2012
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