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Villa Maria Wines
In 1961, at just 21 years of age, George leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started off with just an acre of vines. He harvested his first grapes in 1962 and made his first wine under the name Villa Maria. Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was a one-man band, with George’s wife, Gail, supporting him in his venture. He made dry red and white wines, sourcing grapes from the greater Auckland regions. In the early 1970s, he started to employ staff and the company began to expand rapidly. Today, Villa Maria employs more than 250 permanent staff and exports wine to over 50 countries worldwide. In February 2009, Villa Maria was the first major New Zealand winery to achieve BioGro organic certification for their winery and bottling facilities in Auckland, enabling them to trace organic certification for their organic wines from grape to bottle.
Region:Marlborough, Gisborne, Wairau Valley, Hawkes Bay & East Coast
Winemaker:Nick Picone, David Roper & Helen Morrison
Awards:New Zealand Winery of the Year - Wine Magazine, China 2012