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Drinks International Ranks Villa Maria No. 3 Among Global Wine Brands and Highest Ranking Among New Zealand Wineries

Auckland, New Zealand

For the first time ever a New Zealand wine brand has been named among the top three Most Admired Wine Brands in the World by Drinks International, a leading magazine for the alcohol beverage industry. The rankings were announced at a special awards ceremony in Düsseldorf, Germany on March 18.

“It’s an absolute honour for Villa Maria to be named as the third most admired wine brand in the world and we are delighted to be held in such high esteem on the international stage. New Zealand is a relatively young winemaking nation and to be in the top three wine brands in the world is immensely powerful for New Zealand wine and the New Zealand export sector. I’m very excited about the future of our whole industry,” said Villa Maria Founder and President, Sir George Fistonich.

The list of Most Admired Wine Brands is compiled annually by Drinks International and UK-based global research company Wine Intelligence. The awards are judged by more than 130 industry experts who focus on consistency or improvement in quality, the wine being a true reflection of the country of origin, and in meeting the needs and tastes of its target audience. The judges also consider marketing and packaging and the appeal of the wine to a wide demographic.

“This award is a testament to the unrelenting passion, enthusiasm and intelligence of our winemaking and viticulture teams. The quality of our wines consistently delivers and shows we exceed in all the award criteria. It’s fantastic recognition for Villa Maria and I’m incredibly proud that we are punching well above our weight on this prestigious global list,” Fistonich continued.

Villa Maria has been named New Zealand’s Most Admired Wine Brand for five consecutive years and has consistently been in the World’s Top 10. The brand placed fourth in 2015, eighth in 2016, fourth in 2017, and eighth in 2018. In the 2019 awards, Villa Maria moved up 5 spaces from the previous year.

“New Zealand wine has become a $1.7 billion international success story because our wine producers have always delivered real value to consumers,” said New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan. “This award highlights the on-going success of New Zealand wine brands as they compete for the attention of consumers across the globe.”

The winery Sir George Fistonich started in 1961 is still family owned and stands as an icon of superior quality and innovation in New Zealand winemaking.

Drinks International‘s 2019 Top 10 Most Admired Wine Brands

  1. Penfolds, Australia (↑2) 6. Sassicaia, Italy (↑23)
  2. Torres, Spain (↓2) 7. E. Guigal, France (↑3)
  3. Villa Maria, New Zealand (↑5) 8. Marqués de Riscal, Spain (↑8)
  4. Concha y Toro, Chile (↓2) 9. Errazuriz, Chile (↑4)
  5. M Chapoutier, France (↑1) 10. Ridge, USA (↓3)

ABOUT VILLA MARIA: The Villa Maria story is one of absolute passion. Each wine is crafted in the unique, fruit-driven style of New Zealand, showcasing the very best of the country’s distinct wine regions. Villa Maria sources grapes from New Zealand’s premium grape growing regions, including Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, and produces wines in state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in Auckland and Marlborough. The winery Sir George Fistonich started in 1961 is still family owned and stands as an icon of superior quality and innovation in New Zealand winemaking. To learn more, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Starr, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates |