New Zealand Winery Names Ste Michelle Wine Estates US Importer

Villa Maria Estate (Villa Maria) of New Zealand, has said that the Ste Michelle Wine Estates, a Wash

The company said that the strategic alliance includes management of US sales, marketing and communications programs, and exploration of global synergies between the two companies which could include viticulture and winemaking exchanges.

Ted Baseler, president/CEO of Ste Michelle, said: "Consumers respond to brand authenticity, and George's leadership in New Zealand and his ongoing commitment to innovation and quality initiatives are accomplishments that no other New Zealand winery can match."

Sir George Fistonich, founder of Villa Maria, said: "When we set about finding a new partner in the US, we were specifically looking for an organization with an impeccable reputation, a successful track record in developing fine wine businesses and trade relationships, and a company with the ability to deliver the American consumer broad distribution across all trade channels.

"Quality drives our decision making. So it was critical for us affiliate with a company that has a demonstrated quality focus in all areas of its business."

Villa Maria produces its wines at two winery facilities located in Auckland, the company's headquarters, and Marlborough. The company produces a range of wines from its Private Bin Range to the Cellar Selection range to its Reserve series and the Single Vineyard wines. Villa Maria is an international Sauvignon Blanc producer, along with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, among other varieties.

The company claims to have achieved Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) certification as part of a strategy to reduce its carbon footprint, apart from obtaining BioGro organic certification for the bottling facilities at Villa Maria Estate in Auckland, in 2009.

Show Hide image

No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.