On the back of new figures showing wine exports have reached a record $1.37b, one of New Zealand’s leading wineries has been ranked among the top five anywhere in the world.
Drinks International’s list of the 50 Most Admired Wine Brands list, hugely influential with wine distributors for global retail chains, listed New Zealand-owned Villa Maria Estate in fourth place – beating wine stalwarts Chateau Margaux (8th) and Chateau Latour (12th).
It’s the highest listing ever for a Kiwi wine company and Villa Maria founder, Sir George Fistonich, says the company has already seen an increase in interest from distributors North America, Europe and Asia. “The Drinks International list is hugely influential on the global market so our high placing helps grow distribution in these regions, which will result in a growth of sales. It also drives awareness and exposure not just to our brand, but the New Zealand wine industry as a whole,” he says.
The list is issued each year by the global drinks industry journal, following a poll of 200 of masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and wine writers. Votes are based on the quality of the wine, if it reflects its region or country of origin, if it responds to the tastes of its audience, its packaging and if it appeals to a wide demographic.
The list was established in 2011 with a small handful of judges and has grown to include 200 judges from around the world.
Spain’s Torres took out top place this year followed by, Vega Sicilia and Australia’s Penfolds. Villa Maria was the only New Zealand winery to make the top 10. Cloudy Bay was placed 14th and Oyster Bay 26th.
“To be number one in New Zealand and fourth in the world out of more than 100,000 wineries is phenomenal. New Zealand is a very young wine producing country so to achieve fourth place in such a prestigious competition, with old world leaders such as Torres, Château d’Yquem and Château Margaux is a huge source of pride,” Sir George says.