In 1961, at just 21 years of age, George Fistonich leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started off with just an acre of vines.
George made his first wine under the name Villa Maria in 1962 with grapes harvested from this block.
Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was a one-man band, with George’s wife, Gail, supporting him in his venture.
George made dry red and white wines, sourcing grapes from the greater Auckland regions.
In the early 1970s George started to employ staff and the company expanded rapidly.
Today, Villa Maria employs more than 250 permanent staff, grows 28 different grape varieties, and exports wine to over 60 countries worldwide.
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