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New Zealand wineries have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years. While production levels are fairly small compared to the more established wineries in other part of the world, the winemakers in New Zealand are among the best producers of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc in the world today.

Sir George Fistonich - Owner and Managing Director of Villa Maria Estate

Sir George Fistonich – Owner and Managing Director of Villa Maria Estate

One of New Zealand’s leading wineries is Villa Maria Estate. Founded by Sir George Fistonich 50 years ago, Villa Maria is the third largest wine producer in New Zealand with state-of-the-art winery facilities in Auckland and Marlborough that exports wines to over 50 countries worldwide. Villa Maria has won numerous awards under Fistonich’s leadership, with Fistonich personally achieving many accolades.

The Dining Table caught up with Sir George Fistonich, the founder of New Zealand star winery Villa Maria Estate, where he shares his views on New Zealand wines, tips on wine pairing and more.

What are you particularly enjoying drinking at the moment?

For the longest nights of the year, I am currently enjoying the Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Syrah and the Taylors Pass Pinot Noir.

How do you consider New Zealand’s wine to stack up overseas?

New Zealand is a lucky country with a relatively new wine industry and young, enthusiastic winemakers. We have a maritime climate with a long growing season and are incredibly blessed with ripe fruit flavours and pure Sauvignon Blanc’s. New Zealand across the board has some of the best wines in the world.

Learning about wine is an endless journey and can be intimidating to many. To those curious but unsure of where to begin, what do you suggest as a starting point?

Become a member of many wine clubs. It’s a good idea to join so that you can taste in a group environment, which will help you to improve your knowledge and compare many different wines from different producers.

Are there some basic guidelines on what wines to select to pair with certain types of foods? Desserts?

Pairing can be a bit complicated and often depends on tastes, however, there are some basic rules like white wines with seafood and white meats, like chicken and pork, and red wines with steak and game meats. Pinot Noir can be tasted with both of these and for dessert I choose a noble Riesling.

What are your plans for Villa Maria? Are you going to do more of the same or do you have some new projects in the pipeline?

In the wine industry there are always many new varieties and trends to be explored. We have a passionate overriding commitment for innovation and for doing things better.

Villa Maria Estate's Auckland Winery and Head Office

Villa Maria Estate’s Auckland winery and head office

Villa Maria Estate’s wines are retailed at: The Beam Cellar, 229 Mountbatten Road, #01-03 to 07 / #01-17 to 19, Mountbatten Square, Singapore 398 007 (Tel: +65 6559 1155); and leading supermarkets and wine boutiques. Villa Maria Private Bin and Cellar Selection wines are also carried in premium restaurants, hotels and bistro.

Exclusive promotion for The Dining Table’s readers: 
Present this article and get $10 off every bottle purchase of Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2009. This promotion is only available at The Beam Cellar from now to 15th July.
Author: Javan Ng
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