Villa Maria Winery – Virtual Tasting

“There is only one word for New Zealand – epic” – Bear Grylls

New Zealand is most often associated with Sauvignon Blanc wines. Take a step into the present and future to experience a new world of New Zealand varietals.  If you aren’t traveling there soon, join me in experiencing the Award-winning wines of Villa Maria Winery (

One of the benefits of being a wine blogger is receiving invitations to participate in wine tastings featuring vineyards from around the world. Some of the tastings are held in wine shops. One way to participate in tastings with winemakers across the world is through virtual tastings. I can interact directly with the winemaker and other bloggers while enjoying the sampling process in the comfort of my home office. During the next few weeks, I will be providing reviews of six wines that I sampled during a June virtual testing with Villa Maria Winery.

Sir George – Picture courtesy of Villa Maria

Villa Maria is a family owned winery. The founder and owner Sir George Fistonich is a leader in the production of New Zealand wines. Sir George is also a leader in the innovation that led to the use of screw caps in most of New Zealand’s wines. New Zealand winemakers struggled to keep their products fresh when shipping to distant locations because of oxidization. In 2001, Villa Maria made the switch to screw caps with strong results. Not only did the use of screw caps eliminate the issue of oxidization with corks, the wines also aged well.
PositiveVines Helpful Hints: A virtual wine tasting is conducted via online technology where a facilitator sets up a Skye, Google Hangout or other streaming service so that participants can listen to and submit questions for the winemaker. Wines are sent out in advance to bloggers with an expectation that they will sample the wines using traditional smell, sip and spit techniques during the event.

 Villa Maria Vineyards – Picture courtesy of Villa Maria

The Villa Maria vineyards were first planted in 1962 with one acre on land in Mangere, Auckland. The family now produces wines in Auckland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough with shipments to over 50 countries.

We started our tasting with a Pinot Noir from Marlborough. Helen Morrison, Senior Winemaker, guided the group the tasting. Helen has led the Villa Maria team for 4 years with over 12 years of total experience working in vineyards around Marlborough.

The 2014 Villa Maria Marlborough Cellar Section Pinot Noir is a fruit forward treat. Pinot Noir is the second most planted varietal and the primary red grape in Marlborough. This wine

2014 Villa Maria Pinot Noir

has a beautiful cherry nose. As with other Villa Maria wines it is fruit-driven and has a slight smokiness imparted by using oak barrels during the aging process. It is an aromatic wine with a soft taste and balanced crisp acidity.

This is a Pinot Noir that goes well with a wide variety of foods. After the tasting, I enjoyed the remaining bottle of Pinot Noir during an evening picnic featuring yellow cheeses and cold cuts. The smooth blend and light red varietal make the 2014 Villa Maria Pinot Noir and an excellent summer wine.

The 2014 Villa Maria Marlborough Cellar Section Pinot Noir is available through most U.S. distributors at an average of $35 per bottle. This Pinot Noir is one to share with family and friends. As the second most planted varietal in New Zealand, Pinot Noir has experienced explosive growth and should be at the top of your list for one of the next wines that you enjoy.

Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

Drink Responsibly!
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