Leading New Zealand winery, Villa Maria, have announced that Nick Picone has been promoted to Group Chief Winemaker, after 18 years with the producer. The position oversees all of the Villa Maria Group’s winemaking, including: Villa Maria, Vidal Estate, Esk Valley, Te Awa Collection and Thornbury.
With several prestigious awards to his name including an Australasian award for Young Winemaker of the Year, Nick has been responsible for making hundreds of the winery’s global trophy and medal winning wines for many years.
Villa Maria CEO, Sir George Fistonich comments:
"Nick is an extremely talented winemaker with an exceptional palate and has demonstrated a natural ability with wine right from the start of his career. Fostering talent in our industry is something I’m passionate about and I’m proud to have seen Nick develop his skills over the years working in all of our winemaking regions. Throughout our 54 year history my focus has always been on creating the highest quality wines and we’ve achieved this through the selection of the best vineyard sites, but also seeking out the very best people and Nick is without a doubt one of the New Zealand wine industry’s shining stars".
Nick brings a wealth of experience to the position. Raised in Hawkes Bay, his first wine job was at boutique producer Esk Valley Estate. From there he moved to Marlborough and then later to Auckland to oversee Villa Maria’s winemaking in Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. In 2006 he spent time working in the UK alongside Villa Maria’s distributor Hatch Mansfield, followed by a vintage at G.D. Vajra in Barolo, Italy. He has also completed two vintages at DeLoach vineyards in California, USA.