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Villa Maria Estate
by
Kathy Sullivan

Villa Maria, AucklandSummary: Villa Maria Estate in Auckland, New Zealand is a large family-owned winery. Located in a volcanic basin, the site is conducive for growing white varietal grapes and Pinot Noir. Villa Maria Estate is focused on being environmentally responsible. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a meal in the restaurant or on the patio. Any bride-to-be may want to contact the winery for information about planning a wedding.

Villa Maria Estate is a large family-owned winery located outside Auckland, New Zealand. Currently the winery is producing 700,000 cases of wine with grapes from their own estate vineyards as well as contract-controlled vineyards in other regions of New Zealand. The large wine portfolio includes red, white and sparkling wines.

Visitors to the Villa Maria Estate in Auckland will discover that it is set in a volcanic basin. Blocks of white varietal vineyards surround the modern-style facility. The winery has a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.

Rooms are available for special events including business meetings, conferences and weddings. Outdoor concerts are held at the Auckland facility. Concerts are performed by New Zealand and international entertainers.

Villa Maria, AucklandHistory of Villa Maria Estate

Sir George Fistonich established Villa Maria Estate in 1961. He chose the name Villa Maria because it sounded like it was European. Looking back at the history of wine, in the 1960’s European wines were considered high quality. Even then Sir George understood the importance of marketing wine.

Villa Maria Estate remained small during the 1960’s. In the 1970’s as the winery grew larger, they needed to hire staff. Today they employ more than 200 people. In 2010, Villa Maria Estate is producing 700,000 cases of wine and exporting wine to 50 countries.

Villa Maria, AucklandWine Tasting

At the beginning of the group wine tasting the group learned that New Zealand has 4.2 million people. In 2010, there are 688 wine companies in the country. For a time one new winery opened every 14 days. New Zealand vineyards occupy 33,000 hectares (81,545 acres) of land and produce 0.5 percent of the world’s wines. The United States is the third largest importer of New Zealand wines.

The Villa Maria Estate vineyards located in the Auckland area were planted seven years ago. The 10 hectares (about 25 acres) of vines consist of Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Verdelho and Pinot Noir.

Villa Maria, AucklandSixteen wines were presented and discussed by Dave Roper, winemaker. Nine white wines included Pinot Gris, Arneis, Verdelho, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay. The other seven red wines included Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Merlot, and Syrah.

Some of the wines tasted included, the 2008 Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Verdelho produced from the Auckland vineyards. The color was a light straw hue. The wine offered a spice aroma while the taste was silky with notes of spice and honey. The crisp finish was fruity yielding to citrus. The 2009 Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Gewürztraminer also from grapes in Auckland was a light straw color with a floral aroma especially notes of roses. The taste was silky with rose and honey nuances. The crisp finish offered light spices. There was a long aftertaste.

Several wines were produced from grapes from Hawkes Bay region. The 2010 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Arneis was a light straw color. The aroma offered citrus with tropical nuances and the taste was smooth with citrus notes. The crisp finish was fruity. The 2009 Villa Maria Private Bin Organic Merlot was ruby with a pink rim. The aroma was of dark fruit with notes of black cherry and was earthy. The taste offered notes of black cherry. The finish was crisp with silky tannins. The 2007 Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. The wine was a dark purple with a purple rim. The aroma and taste offered notes of dark fruit and licorice. There were bold tannins on the fruity finish. The 2007 Villa Maria Reserve Syrah was a dark ruby with a red rim. The aroma had notes of cedar and black pepper while the taste had notes of violets, black pepper and cedar. The finish had bold tannins and offered dark fruit, cedar and black pepper nuances.

Sustainability

Villa Maria Estate has focused on environmental responsibility for years. The winery is a member of Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand. In addition they have BioGro organic certification that encompasses viticulture to production and export. In 2010 Villa Maria received certification from Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme.

Villa Maria, AucklandWinery

Our group had a tour of the winery. During the tour, one senses the volume of wine produced in the winery. Tanks of various sizes fill an area. Along a walkway the tour takes, posters explain the winemaking process. After a short walk from the tank room, we viewed the crush pad. Returning to the tank room one passes the largest tanks. The tour then enters the bottling line facility. Several workers were bottling wines at the time of our visit.

Enjoy a visit to Villa Maria Estate in Auckland, New Zealand. Take a tour of the large production facility. Wine tastings take place in the Wine Cellar, adjacent to the restaurant. While viewing the vineyards, notice the land and imagine ages ago when this was an active volcano.

 

 

Villa Maria Estate
118 Montgomerie Road
Mangere, Manukau 2153, New Zealand

 


 

 

                                      

 


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