Hawke's Bay winery Villa Maria has cemented its place as one of the nation's leading wineries, picking up a quartet of top trophies at the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards to top off a stellar year.
The awards, previously known at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, awarded Villa Maria the Champion Syrah trophy for its Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2016, the Best Hawke's Bay Wine trophy – for its Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2016 - along with the Champion Merlot Cabernet & Blends trophy – for its Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016 - and the Best Gisborne Wine trophy – for the Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2016.
Saturday night's New Zealand Wine Awards Dinner in Wellington marked the end of the New Zealand wine awards season spanning several months.
This year Villa Maria's awards cabinet has been restocked with a massive haul of 59 gold medals and 20 trophies from both local and international competitions, four of which were awarded last night.
"In 1978, Villa Maria became New Zealand's leading award-winning winery. 40 years later, this reputation remains unshakeable," Villa Maria founder and president Sir George Fistonich said.
Fistonich said the family-owned winery had always prided themselves on producing the best wines possible.
"This unwavering commitment to quality underpins everything we do. These awards are an outcome of a passionate and hard-working team focused on producing world-class wines."
Fistonich said he was a big believer in the importance of wine competitions, not just for Villa Maria but for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole.
"Wine competitions are pivotal in growing our industry here at home yet they are also a means for wineries to demonstrate the excellence of New Zealand wine internationally. The spirit of competition drives quality which ultimately benefits the entire New Zealand wine industry and bolsters our reputation as a world-class wine region overseas."
"We will continue to enter wine competitions to ensure we are continually delivering what our consumers expect – the best. We believe that if you are passionate about your craft then you should always be seeking to improve and never rest on your laurels."