Villa Maria - The People

Sir George Fistonich - Owner and Managing Director (top left)
Sir George Fistonich founded Villa Maria Estate in Auckland in 1961. With vision and determination he has steered the company to a position where it has become New Zealand's leading wine award winner, both locally and overseas. A pioneering figure in the New Zealand wine industry, George has achieved many firsts and his outstanding contributions were honoured in 2009 when he was knighted for his services to the New Zealand wine industry.

Nick Picone  - Group Chief Winemaker
(top right)
Nick brings a wealth of experience to this role having been with Villa Maria for the past 18 years. 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 Hatch Mansfield, followed by a vintages at GD Vajra in Barolo, Italy and DeLoach vineyards in California, USA.  As Group Winemaker he oversees the winemaking at all the winery sites as well as having overall responsibility for viticulture.

Helen Morrison - Chief Marlborough Winemaker (bottom left)
Helen's passion for wine encouraged her decision to change her career path, completing her Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, as top female student, at Lincoln University, Christchurch in 2005.  Helen joined Villa Maria’s Marlborough team in January 2014 and in June 2015 was promoted to Chief Marlborough Winemaker.

Oliver Powrie - Company Viticulturist
(bottom right)
Based in Hawkes Bay, Ollie heads up a team of Regional Viticulturists, Vineyard Managers and Grower Liaison Officers scattered throughout New Zealand. Ollie describes his position as a dynamic role which sees him often visiting several New Zealand wine regions in a week.

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