Auckland, New Zealand (May 16, 2017) — With New Zealand’s wines continuing to increase in popularity with U.S. consumers—just see numerous recent reports which show the country’s wine exports to the U.S. outpacing Australia’s for the first time ever[i]—Villa Maria, is launching a new campaign designed to help seize that momentum. Entitled Open Another World™, the campaign invites consumers to experience not just the sense of place in each bottle of Villa Maria wine, but the innovative and uncompromising spirit of the winery’s legendary founder Sir George Fistonich, who still leads the company today.
“New Zealand’s wines are at the forefront of consumers’ minds, creating a unique opportunity for Villa Maria to distinguish itself in the category,” said Richard Thomas, Chief Operations Officer for Villa Maria. “The Open Another World™ campaign invites people to step into our world and experience the unique story behind our founding and the tenacious and unrelenting pursuit of quality that has and continues to drive Villa Maria to its position today as New Zealand’s most awarded winery,” Thomas continued.
The campaign will kick off with a tour from Los Angeles to Miami with events taking place Jun. 7 through Aug. 4 in various cities. In keeping with the brand’s history of marching to the beat of their own drum—for example, Villa Maria was the first major New Zealand winery to convert entirely to screwcap closures in 2001—the tour won’t just be a typical wine tasting. The winery has retained a troupe of improvisational actors to tell the story of Villa Maria and founder Sir George Fistonich’s rise from a one man operation to a global brand in just five decades, overcoming some pretty incredible odds along the way.
The theatrical performance, “Of Grapes & Grit: The Not Completely Apocryphal Story of Sir George Fistonich, Villa Maria and the New Zealand Wine Industry” will highlight the many milestones in the winery’s history and its contributions to the New Zealand wine industry overall, for which Sir George received a knighthood in 2009. The performance, which will include audience participation, will creatively explore key events such as when the winery went into receivership during the mid-1980s due to price wars and the actions taken by Sir George and his employees to save the winery; to the unique and sometimes quirky personalities behind the wine, including a winemaker who serenades Villa Maria’s vines.
“Villa Maria has incredible stories that drive so much of what we do today,” Thomas continued. “Achieving great things despite adversity is part of our DNA and contributes to our uncompromising winemaking philosophy. When others tell us something is impossible, we hear ‘work harder,’” he said.
In keeping with the brand’s entrepreneurial history, the events will be held at WeWork’s co-working community spaces, hubs for innovation and inspiration across a multitude of industries. Open Another World™ theatrical tour stops will include: Jun. 7 in Los Angeles, CA; Jul. 12 in Dallas, TX; Jul. 19 in Chicago, IL; Jul. 26 in Atlanta, GA; and Aug. 4 in Miami, FL. The events will be produced by GenArt, whose mission is nurture and inspire future generations of creators and doers.
In addition to the events, the Open Another World™ campaign includes digital and social media, a new advertising campaign, and a consumer sweepstakes featuring a trip for two to New Zealand for 7-days and 6-nights featuring tours of Villa Maria’s wineries in Auckland and in Marlborough.
To learn more about Villa Maria and the Open Another World™ campaign and upcoming summer events, visit www.villamariawine.com.
ABOUT VILLA MARIA:
The Villa Maria story is one of absolute passion. Each wine is crafted in the unique, fruit-driven style of New Zealand, showcasing the very best of the country’s distinct wine regions. Villa Maria sources grapes from New Zealand’s premium grape growing regions, including Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, and produces wines in state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in Auckland and Marlborough. The winery Sir George Fistonich started in 1961 is still family owned and stands as an icon of superior quality and innovation in New Zealand winemaking. In 2017, Drinks International named Villa Maria the most admired wine brand in New Zealand and the fourth most admired in the world. To learn more, visit www.villamariawine.com. Follow Villa Maria on social at Facebook @VillaMariaWine, Twitter @VillaMaria_Wine, and Instagram @VillaMariaWines.