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Villa Maria with Sir George Fistonich

This show was published 30 October 2009


Villa Maria is the largest privately owned wine company in New Zealand but started out as a one-man band business in 1961 set up by George Fistonich. The original vineyards were planted in Mangare, Auckland where 20 hectares still remain today. George's parents were Croatians and so wine was central to his upbringing. He started making dry red and dry white wines from hybrid grapes when the market was 90% port and sherry and tables wines were virtually non-existent. In the 70s the international grape varieties Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernets emerged and in the 80s Sauvignon Blanc became the dominant grape. Villa Maria was able to set up in Marlborough as a non-listed private company with investment from 400 shareholders to raise capital. George tells us how Villa Maria became the success it is today and describes some of the tough times he faced along the way.


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The music used for the UK Wine Show is Griffes de Jingle 1 by Marcel de la Jartèle and Silence by Etoile Noire.

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