New Zealand has some pretty great exports: the flat white, manuka honey, Ben Stokes, The Lord of the Rings, and even this little old writer. But perhaps one of its most famed (and arguably most consumed) is its wine – and in particular, Marlborough sauvignon blanc. A wine that quickly monopolised wine lists across the UK, Kiwi 'savvy b' was famed for its high acidity, grassy notes on the nose, and stone-fruits on the palate, perhaps with a hint of citrus.

British drinkers in particular took this quintessential export to heart –in fact, many industry insiders credit the New Zealand sauvignon blanc with opening up the UK wine market to New World wines, breaking what had previously been a steadfast allegiance with old world, Francophilic drops. And with this change in pace came a host of new brands, with Villa Maria quickly becoming the most recognisable.

While sauvignon blanc can be credited with opening up the market, it's globally recognised brands like Villa Maria that have consolidated it, consistently producing incredible wines from across New Zealand. And can you blame them? It’s a country quite literally ripe for the picking, with vines growing everywhere from salt-sprayed seaside hills to rolling valleys surrounded by snow-capped peaks and the remnants of volcanoes. It’s the archetypal wine paradise, simultaneously familiar yet foreign, awe-inspiring and dream-worthy. And while it might not be possible to bottle up the country and bring it home with you, cracking open a bottle of Villa Maria wine – be it a classic sauvignon blanc, a well-rounded chardonnay or a moreish, jammy pinot noir – is pretty close to doing just that.

Villa Maria's sauvignon blanc
Villa Maria's sauvignon blanc

Villa Maria wines are made for every occasion. A bottle of Villa Maria is as fitting for your next dinner party as it is a special occasion with friends. It’s the wine that will carry you from post-work indulgence to celebratory parties. Because it’s about so much more than just what’s in the bottle. It’s that intangible feeling of transportation – of being plucked from wherever you are and whisked to a black-sand beach on Auckland’s west coast, or a cabin in the rolling hills of the Marlborough Sounds.

This is wine that has been made in New Zealand since its founding by Sir George Fistonich in 1961, making Villa Maria one of the first wineries to grow and harvest grapes within the country, and doing so initially with just an acre of vines. The winemaking scene in the country is comparatively young but plucky, and serves as the blueprint for where New World wines can go. Villa Maria personifies this: it's a unique expression of the country’s immense landscape and laid-back culture – one that started from humble beginnings and has blossomed into an ambassador on the world stage. If you need any evidence, you just have to look at where it’s bottled: a beautiful winery in the crater of Waitomokia volcano, on the outskirts of Auckland City, as classically Kiwi as it gets.

Find out more at, or follow on Instagram at @villamariawines