Villa Maria - new zealand wine

Networking and wine tasting - find the perfect balance

About Villa Maria

One man did it all and it took him 50 years.

Everything started in 1961 in a place named Mangere, Auckland from New Zealand where George Fistonich, atjust 21 years of age decided to lease from his father obout 5 acres of land.

In 1962 George harvested for the first time, making his first wine under the name of Villa Maria.

For 10 years it was a one man job being helped only by his wife Gail, managing to produce dry red and white wines.

In 1970 the company expanded rapidly as George started to employ staff.

In our days Villa Maria exports wine over 60 countries worldwide, grows 28 different grape varieties and have employed over 250 people.

If you like to drink wine, the best way is to pair it with food and here is my list of 7 rules and I will start with my favourite :

1. Sauvignon Blanc- a crisp, elegant and refreshing wine, originates from the Bordeaux region of France and the name means “sauvage” – wild and “blanc” – white. It is widely cultivated in France, Chile, Roumania, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California.

 Sauvgnon Blanc it’s amazing with Thai food, garlic prawns, honey garlic butter shrimp, sushi, grilled veggies and sword fish, salad with goat cheese and my favourite oysters.

2. Cabernet Sauvignon is recognised through it’s prominence in Bordeaux where is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but also in new homes like California and New Zealand. 

This wine is perfect with juicy red meat like steak, beef short ribs, roasted or grilled lamb, portabello mashrooms or cheese.

3. Chardonnay is a white wine originated in the region of eastern France it’s grown wherever wine it’s produced, from England to New Zealand.

Chardonnay goes perfectly with fish, but also with curry chicken salad, with lightly breaded and fried crab, avocado and tuna or my favourite dijon-tarragon cream chicken.

4. Pinot Noir is a red grape variety and the name is derived for French words for pine and black, having pine cone shape the bunches of fruit.

This wine is fabulous with earthy flavours like mushrooms or truffles. When comes to recipes I have to mention roasted beef tenderloin, grilled salmon steak, roast pork and potatoes or bacon stuffed mushrooms. 

5. Champagne – most people are using this term as a generic for sparkling wine, but in some countries it is illegal to label any product with this name unless it comes from the Champagne region of France and it’s produced under very specific rules like secondary fermentation in the bottle to create carbonation.

Champagne is perfect with ravioli, chicken sandwich, rocket salads with pear and Parmesan and fresh baked bread with olive oil.

6. Rose – is the type of wine that incorporates some of the grape skin colour as it’s the most straight forward to make, being also one of the oldest type of wine. There are three methods to obtain this wine: skin contact, saignee and blending and it can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling.

Rose will match really well with seafood dish, but also with foods like strawberries, melon or bruschetta. I personally like rose with prosciutto with mozzarella skewers with melon or mozzarella melon salad or baked shrimp with bruscheta.  

7. Pinot Grigio or pinot gris it’s a mutant clone of the pinot noir and it’s colour vary from deep yellow to copper.

This wine is great with seafood, antipasto, Parmesan pasta recipes and chicken is one of the best backup food to pair it.

Let me know in the comments below which one is your favourite wine and what is the food that you prefer. 


Villa Maria wine tasting event took place in Leeds and they had as a special guest Judi James,  who is a leading communication and body language expert whose expertise is sought after in broadcast, corporate and public relations circles.

These are the pictures that I came up with. By the way the wine was really good 🙂

luiza calini
ladies at an event
paintings on a wall

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