By Deborah Jackson and Andy Young
New Zealand’s Villa Maria winery has announced that it is planning to set up its own Australian-based sales and distribution operation.
The move comes following Accolade Wines’ purchase of Fine Wine Partners, which is the current distributor for Villa Maria. The winery hopes that the move to direct distribution will give it greater flexibility with its marketing and distribution, help continue to grow its presence in Australia and get the winery closer to its customers.
Founder and Qwner Sir George Fistonich said: Villa Maria has had a very successful relationship with Fine Wine Partners for the past 12 years. With their support, Villa Maria has become one of the largest New Zealand wine brands in Australia and has a very solid reputation, validated by many awards including Winestate’s New Zealand Winery of the Year, which we’ve won 15 out of 19 years.”
The company said that once its direct distribution model is firmly established in Australia it will assess the opportunities of growth and in the meantime it will focus on the Reserve and Single Vineyard wines in both the on- and off-premise.
“We see the potential to grow significantly in Australia. Because we are focusing on a limited number of brands with different strategies, we can be very efficient and dedicated in all of our sales and marketing efforts. This is a huge opportunity to work more closely with our customers to ensure we are meeting their needs,” Sir George added.
Villa Maria’s new direct distribution model will start on 1 March 2017, with Fine Wine Partners continuing to sell and distribute the winery’s range in the meantime.