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Villa Maria looks to sell surplus land as part of global growth ambitions

Published:  05 November, 2020

Leading New Zealand estate Villa Maria has announced it is aiming to sell 31 ha of surplus land surrounding its headquarters in Mangere, Auckland, and is exploring raising capital to accelerate growth plans worldwide.

The company says it has the ambition to be one of “the world’s great wine companies”.

It plans to invest across the value chain from viticulture and wineries to brands and marketing, in order to meet increasing demands in key markets. 

“We’ve been making changes to our business and carry on the legacy of our founder, Sir George Fistonich,” said Justin Liddell, CEO.

“I’m really proud of the team which has achieved sound results despite the challenges of Covid. We’ve restructured and refreshed our business, optimised and refined our brand and marketing portfolios and redefined our hospitality offering to enhance our consumer experience. We have laid the foundations for our future success and this is the next phase in our growth strategy.”

The Villa Maria site in Mangere has particular relevance to the history and development of Villa Maria. Fistonich foresaw the potential of the land when the current site was acquired in 2000. Today, Liddell said the land value has increased to a point “where it’s not possible to generate a reasonable return on these vineyards”. 

“We’re exploring selling 31 ha of vineyard and bare land surrounding our headquarters at Mangere. We will continue to operate our Auckland winery, bottling, warehousing, head office and hospitality functions on the remaining 10 ha,” he said.

The company is also exploring raising capital from interested parties who want to support its growth plans. It doesn’t expect any decisions to be made until the first quarter of next year.

Villa Maria is the leading New Zealand wine brand in the UK market by volume and value. As well as expanding in the UK, the company also has its sights on “untapped potential” in North America and Asia.

“We’re really focused on continuing to share the best of New Zealand wine with the world and building genuine relationships while also using data and insights to deliver on consumer and market trends. Enhancing our sustainability credentials and organic product portfolio amongst other initiatives, will help us tap into growing global demand,” Liddell added.

Brands include Villa Maria, Esk Valley, Leftfield, Vidal and Thornbury. The portfolio spans all price points from entry level through to ultra-premium.