About the wine maker
Villa Maria was founded by Sir George Fistonich, who in 1961, sold his car, took out a bank loan and borrowed some money from his family so that he could lease some land. His only experience was that he came from a typical Croatian family who often made their own wine at home. He planted one acre of vines and took an oath to make the best quality wine that he could.
From selling his first wines to customers at Auckland University, he became a one-man sales and marketing force, travelling the length and breadth of New Zealand with his wines.
Years later, Villa Maria Estate is still in the Fistonich family and is New Zealand's most awarded winery and George has been knighted for his efforts.
‘Great wine starts with exceptional vineyards and exceptional people. If you have these foundations, you have the best chance of making the best wines. Uppermost in my mind as we grow is that we should maintain the principles with which we started 50 years ago: the pursuit of quality, innovation and passion for a particular style that is New Zealand. Above all, we want to make wines that everyone can enjoy, everywhere.’
Villa Maria has a long-held objective to be environmentally responsible and to operate using sustainable practices. A member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand since its inception in 1995, the wineries are also compliant with the environmental management system ISO14001.