Sir George Fistonich, currently celebrating his 50th vintage at the helm of Villa Maria Estate, was named Drinks Business 'Man of the Year' in a ceremony at the London International Wine Fair yesterday.
Patrick McGrath MW, Managing Director of Villa Maria's UK distributor Hatch Mansfield, was present to pick up the award on behalf of Sir George who is currently travelling in Asia hosting 50th vintage celebrations. Sir George was delighted to receive news of this honour in his current location of Beijing, where his acceptance was filmed and shown at the ceremony.
This is the ninth annual Drinks Business Awards ceremony. Each year, the winners of 19 prestigious categories are voted for by a series of judging panels made up of some of the leading figures in the drinks trade. On presentation of the award by Sue Birch, President of Wines of South Africa, Sir George was praised for his leadership and pioneering work at the forefront of the New Zealand wine industry.
"I am delighted to accept this award and wish to thank everyone who contributed to our success over the years - Villa Maria Estate employees and the Hatch Mansfield team in the United Kingdom in particular", Sir George commented on the award.
Sir George joins an exclusive group of high profile figures from the drinks industry who have previously received this award including Simon McMurtrie, Chief Executive of Direct Wines in 2011, Christian Lopez of Concha Y Toro in 2010, and Hatch Mansfield's own Patrick McGrath MW in 2004.
This recognition for Sir George is particularly special coming in 2012 as it is 50 years since he bottled the first vintage of Villa Maria wine. To celebrate this exceptional milestone, Sir George is currently travelling the globe hosting 50th vintage celebration events in Villa Maria Estate's key export markets. He will be travelling to the United Kingdom in September to continue the celebrations.
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