More than 500 guests joined Villa Maria Estate founder and owner of Sir George Fistonich in Auckland today to celebrate his winery’s 50th vintage anniversary.
Attendees included the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament, media personalities, business leaders and representatives from major New Zealand and international wineries and industry groups.
Sir George established Villa Maria with a single acre of vines in 1961. Over the next five decades, the company has remained at the forefront of innovation in winemaking. From introducing the tiered system for wine quality and price to introducing screw caps across its entire range in 2001, Villa Maria has continually spearheaded changes that have shaped the entire industry.
Today, Villa Maria employs over 250 permanent staff and exports wine to more than 50 countries. It remains the cornerstone of a market that contributes over a billion dollars to New Zealand’s economy every year.
By continuing to experiment with new varieties and keeping their finger on the pulse of innovation, Villa Maria is set to retain its position as one of New Zealand’s most iconic wineries for at least the next 50 years.
"It is immensely satisfying to stand here fifty years after planting the first vines in Mangere. I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of this truly remarkable journey. Villa Maria’s story is also the story of New Zealand’s transformation into a nation of wine drinkers and leading global wine exporters," says Sir George.
Prime Minister John Key added, "I personally think you produce some of the greatest wines to come out of New Zealand. Whenever you have a bottle of New Zealand wine on a table overseas, it serves as an ambassador of our country; and Villa Maria wines always do a great job of doing this".
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