Villa Maria Wine

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Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc
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Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling
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Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc
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Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot
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Villa Maria Blush Sauvignon
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Villa Maria Sauvignon Blush 750Ml
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Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Gris
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Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay
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Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio
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Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir
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Villa Maria Earth Garden Sauvignon Blanc
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Villa Maria 'Cellar Selection' Albariño , Gis...
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Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon
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Villa Maria is one of the most pioneering and best-known of New Zealand wine brands. It also has one of the broadest ranges in terms of style, from the very respected Villa Maria Sauvignon blanc, which is widely distributed in supermarkets, to some of the most premium, single-vineyard wines that Villa Maria has to offer.

It’s one of the top 5 New Zealand wine brands, and the one, which pioneered the start of the revolution towards the use of screwcaps. As a result of this, New Zealand led the charge towards this new style of closure, and over 95% of all New Zealand wines are now sealed with this type of closure, which negates the risk of cork taint.

Background to Villa Maria

Villa Maria was founded in 1961 by Croatian immigrant, George Fistonich, who leased 5 acres of land near Auckland, on the north island. He began to make wine, and over the next 10 years started to buy land and explore the territory. He purchased land in Hawkes Bay in 1975, and over the years, began to build the Villa Maria brand, buying land in the up and coming Marlborough region in the early 1980s.

Today ,Villa Maria own vineyards in Hawkes Bay and Gisborne in the North Island and Marlborough in the South Island, covering just about every varietal and style that the country produces.

The New Zealand wine industry owes much to Fistonich - he was one of the first to start to bring in viticulturists to make sure the best grapes were grown in the best vineyards, in the best conditions, and worked to drive the quality of the wines.

It was in 2000 that Villa Maria first pioneered the use of screwcaps rather than cork for its wines, because he realized how many of his wines were being spoilt, and contaminated . He banned all cork and started using screwcap closures even for red wines in 2002. This was a revolutionary and very risky move at the time, but less than 15 years on, wines sealed with screwcaps dominate the shelves.

Styles of Wine

Villa Maria produce a wide range of wines at several different levels, from vineyards from both North and South Islands, covering established and up and coming grape varieties.

The Private Bin range offers a wide variety of styles, from the familiar Sauvignon blanc to Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Rose, as well as a delicately fruity Pinot Noir.

The Cellar Selection range offers premium styles of some of the most classic grape varieties grown in New Zealand, including Sauvignon blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir.

At the next level up is the Reserve range, represented here by Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay, which demonstrates a complex elegant character, balancing gentle oak, and an incredible freshness.

Food and wine matching

Villa Maria wines are perfect food wines, here are a few ideas to try to enjoy the wines and what you’re cooking, at their very best:

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc – zesty and passion fruit fresh, this is a great wine to try with ginger and garlic steamed fish, thai chicken curry, goats cheese salad, and spicy, chilli-infused dishes. Also pretty good with fish and chips.

Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling – full of aromatic, lime zest and honeysuckle character, this is the perfect wine for Southern Indian dishes, smoked fish, and oriental seafood dishes.

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio – soft and gentle, with more character and depth than many of the Italian versions. Lovely with chicken Caesar salad, fishcakes, and creamy chicken risotto.

Villa Maria Private Bin Rose – a soft, fruity, juicy dry rose which will be delicious with seared tuna, chargrilled prawns, sushi and delicate Vietnamese and chinese stir fries.

Villa Maria Private Bin Cabernet Merlot - rich and juicy, this berry and spice scented red is great with lamb steaks, braised beef, and stir-fried pork dishes.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling – one step up, and lots more concentration, in this lime-streaked, super fresh white, which is ideal with thai curries, pan-fried mackerel, and smoked salmon salad.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon blanc – Vibrant and refreshingly zesty, this bright superstar cries out for a platter of the freshest seafood, spicy calamari or goats cheese salad.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir - this soft, raspberry-scented red, with its velvety style is a natural match to tender duck breasts, roast pheasant, and hot spicy Asian dishes.

Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay – this creamy, baked apple and pear scented white, made with careful use of gentle oak, is perfect with juicy roast chicken, pan-fried salmon with hollandaise, and creamy pasta dishes.

Updated 4th June 2021
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About Villa Maria

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2012, Villa Maria is one of the best known and recognisable New Zealand brands on the UK market; it is not one of the biggest in terms of volume, but one of the best-known brands in terms of its quality reputation. The winery is proud of its position as New Zealand’s most awarded winery, an accolade it has held for over 30 years.

Established in 1961, Villa Maria has ridden high on the crest of the New Zealand success story, with an impressive range of wines from most of the key wine regions, and has one of the highest average price points of all the New Zealand wine brands, an impressive statistic in itself, considering that UK wine drinkers, in any case, are prepared to spend more money on New Zealand wine than wine from any other country.

From a tiny segment of the wine market less than 10 years ago, New Zealand now represents an impressive 6% of total sales in the UK, with Villa Maria offering one of the broadest ranges.

Villa Maria is one of the most innovative and forward thinking wine businesses in New Zealand, and is renowned as the driving force behind the move to screwcaps, initially in New Zealand and now all over the world. Villa Maria’s founder, George Fistonich, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the International Wine Challenge, but far more importantly was the first New Zealander to be knighted in the New Zealand Honours’ list, for services to the Wine Industry.

Villa Maria was founded in 1961, by George Fistonich, one of many Croatian immigrants to New Zealand. A true entrepreneur, he leased 5 acres of land from his father, near Auckland, planted one, and made his first wine. Over the next 10 years, he single-handedly made his wines, and started to build the brand, whose name he created.

A true entrepreneur, Fistonich purchased the Vidal winery in Hawkes Bay in 1975, and planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot amongst other grapes, just at the time, when these grape varieties started to take off in a major way. Villa Maria then purchased in Marlborough in the early 80s, and the business expanded from there. Now the company focusses its wine production on the main areas of Marlborough, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.

George Fistonich, is undoubtedly one of the greatest innovators within the New Zealand wine industry, leading initiatives at every stage over the last few decades. From an early stage, he focussed on showcasing regional characteristics within his wines, and strove for optimum quality. He was the first producer to set up the now standard agreement of paying contract growers, based on the quality of the grapes they were supplying, and not just a flat price. He was also the first one to bring in specialist viticulturists to study the vineyards and vines, and develop the best techniques for optimum grape development.

But he is probably best known for being the pioneer of the ‘screwcap’; fed up of the amount of wine that was being spoilt by bad corks, George and his team began experimenting, and in 2000, boldly made the statement that Villa Maria would become a ‘cork-free zone’, moving its entire production to screwcaps, including reds, by 2002. At this stage, this was a very risky move, since screwcaps had a poor quality image in Europe and the US, and there was a considerable danger of losing a large proportion of export volume. However, the initiative caught on in New Zealand, and slowly, but surely, backed by a strong consumer education campaign (and the help of the UK supermarkets), the phenomenon of the screwcap was established, and gained recognition and acceptance. Today screwcaps are the ‘norm’, and, for all their benefits, we have George Fistonich to thank.

What Style Of Wine Does Villa Maria Make?

The Villa Maria range of wines is categorised by 4 different tiers, from Private bin, through Cellar Selection, and Reserve, to the pinnacle of the Single Vineyard wines.

Private Bin

Villa Maria’s entry level wines stand high above many other brands in terms of quality, and constantly win awards. They aim to provide a range of wines to showcase the grape variety, and the region where it is grown, and produce consistent, great value wines. The white wine range covers just about every major grape variety grown, from the flagship, zesty Sauvignon Blanc, and a creamily smooth Gisborne Chardonnay, to 4 exciting, aromatic wines, which New Zealand is producing so well, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Gewurztraminer.

There’s a dry, fruity Syrah Rose in the range, and 4 characterful and varied reds, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Merlot/Cabernet, and Syrah.

Cellar Selection

Here the emphasis is on the pure fruit quality, with very careful handling of the grapes and winemaking, to produce, elegant, benchmark wines, which truly showcase their origin. There are 6 whites, similar varieties to the Private Bin range, but more focussed, and slightly more intense in style – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer; and 3 elegant, fruit-driven reds, Pinot Noir, Merlot Cabernet and Syrah.

Reserve Range

Only Villa Maria’s top wines are selected for the Reserve category, and our superb examples of top quality wines, showcasing regionality, and well as the characteristics of the grape from which they are made, in an intense, yet, supremely balanced style.

This is where Villa Maria focus in on each of their different regions, to show their wines in their best environments. Not all the wines are available in the UK, however there are 5 regional Reserve whites, each with a unique style – Hawkes Bay Chardonnay; Marlborough Chardonnay; Marlborough Riesling; Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc; and Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc.

As well as 3 reds from the famous Gimblett Gravels area of Hawkes Bay, there are 3 impressive single varietals, Hawkes Bay Merlot, Marlborough Pinot Noir , and Hawkes Bay Syrah.

Single Vineyard

These wines are best described in the winery’s own words:

Each wine within this range displays its own distinct characteristics, which result from the unique terroir of the site from where the fruit is sourced. The winemaking approach for the Single Vineyard range is for minimal intervention, allowing the wine to take its own path.

These are unique wines, made in tiny quantities, 13 wines in all, across most of the main grape varieties that Villa Maria plant.

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