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Fistonich honoured

Published:  23 July, 2008

George Fistonich, founder and managing director of New Zealand's Villa Maria Group, has received one of his country's highest honours by being made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

This is one of the most prestigious tributes bestowed on citizens of New Zealand, and is roughly equivalent to a British knighthood. It was the highest honour conferred on anyone in this year's New Zealand Birthday Honours List, awarded by HM The Queen of England.

The award is in recognition of Fistonich's services to the wine industry since founding Villa Maria, now one of New Zealand's most awarded wineries, in 1961. Patrick McGrath MW, of Villa Maria's UK importer, Hatch Mansfield, said: George is typically embarrassed by the honour, but over the moon for his team and those who have helped make Villa Maria the success it is today.'