Proudly 100 per cent New Zealand and family owned, Villa Maria Estate extends to a number of selected vineyards and wineries, where wines from over a dozen grape varieties are exported to more than 50 countries. An unrelenting passion for producing quality wine has cemented Villa Maria's place as New Zealand's most awarded winery nationally and internationally.
Since the early 1980s Villa Maria has been New Zealand's most award-winning winery, consistently winning prizes from both national and international competitions. Founder and owner Sir George Fistonich attributes the company's success to his team's absolute commitment and unrelenting passion to create the best wines possible.
"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 George.
But he urges that while the awards and recognition are a great reward, this has never been his focus: "These successes come from making quality the focus. If you are determined from the onset that you will not compromise on this, then you will never lose sight of what your purpose is about."
The company's success started with the very first vintage. Sir George Fistonich entered his first red wines in the 1963 Royal Easter Show, where he received the second and third prize. This was in the days when competitions only awarded the top three wines of the category.
Sir George Fistonich is adamant that the company's total commitment to quality has attracted the best people to work for Villa Maria throughout the years: "Being a family owned business, we are a very tight-knit team. Our winemakers have the opportunity to express their own flair here. We are not restrained by any limitations, unlike a lot of larger wineries around the world."
A selection of awards:
* Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2011 (NZ) - Record for most trophies.
* Royal Easter Show Wine Awards (NZ) - Champion Winemaker 1993, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 & 2011
* Winestate (Australia) - New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2009 for the 11th time in 12 years
* International Wine and Spirit Competition (UK) - New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2009, 2007, 2006 & 2004
* Sydney International Wine Competition (Australia) - Most Successful Winery 2007
* Wine Enthusiast (USA) - New World Winery of the Year 2007
* Wine Spectator (USA) - Critic's Choice Award Winner in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2005
* Wine Spectator (USA) - One of the World's 50 Great Wine Producers 2004
* Sydney International Wine Competition (Australia) - Champion Wine of the Show 1997 beating 1000 wines from six countries
* International Wine Academy (Australia) - New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 1987