Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Villa Maria looks to grow in the UK with launch of Italian Arneis variety

Published:  18 September, 2013

Villa Maria, the New Zealand wine, is to bring the Italian grape variety Arneis to the 2014 UK market in a bid to find other varieties that apply to the mainstream other than Sauvignon Blanc.

Speaking at a Manchester event to reveal its 2013 vintage, its winemaking and viticulture head, Alastair Maling MW, said 15 hectares had been planted of Arneis, with more to come on board if successful. He added while the production of Sauvignon Blanc is still at "runaway train" levels, the danger is to rest upon its laurels.

Maling said: "Areneis makes fruit driven, aromatic wines and although nicknamed the 'little rascal' because it is challenging to grow, it will appeal to the consumer because at around 13% abv it is not high in alcohol."

It will be released as Villa Maria Private Bin Arneis 2013 and Cellar Selection 2013 and distributed through its UK partner, Hatch Mansfield. The grapes for Private Bin are from Gisborne and Hawkes Bay vineyards and Cellar Selection, 100% Hawkes Bay. 

He said the 2013 vintage had enjoyed perfect growing conditions, and was one of the few vintages to have consistency across the country and provided good yields.

"The 2012 vintage was a small one and there were a lot of concerned phone calls as to whether there would be enough supply. It meant we had to get 2013 into bottle quickly, which we will do the same with 2014 in order to meet demand," he added.

Maling said the New Zealand wine industry is feeling optimistic with land and vineyard sales once again being snapped up, which two years ago weren't selling. It has also had a revamp of the 2013 packaging and for the future is looking to increase the amount of organic vineyards across the estate, further reduce carbon emissions and continue to experiment growing other grape varieties to bring to bottle.