Acrostic Interview: Helen Morrison winemaker at Villa Maria/Marlborough

It’s been 200 years since the first vines were planted on the northern island of New Zealand. A special occasion for the countries whole wine industry and the reason why winemaker Helen Morisson travelled all the way from the southern hemisphere to Germany to promote the wines of the family owned Villa Maria Winery.
I had the pleasure to meet Helen in Cologne this week.
Attached you will find our interview based on the acrostic of NEW ZEALAND.

I did not ask Helen any questions, I just gave her the initials to spontaneously find a topic… and she did amazingly well. Have fun reading!


„Niche Market“
Compared to others the winemarket of New Zealand is tiny on the global scale due to the limited land area. But still our Sauvignon Blanc became world famous.


„Every Day Wine“
Our wines are really approachable and easy to understand because they offer the clasic aromatics. If you take the Sauvignon Blanc for example we try to get more of the peach and stone fruit kind of aromatics, whereas in the Reserve you will find more of these tingling green aromatics like lemongrass or lime.


The Maori word means family and in NZ it belongs to our everyday language. It reminds me of Villa Maria as the winery is still family owned and inspired by the owner. For a business that big of a size this is pretty unique for New Zealand.



This adjective is referring to the striking acidity that our Sauvignon Blancs are famous for.


There our Sauvignon Blanc got the first recognition in the 1980’s. And you must know that Villa Marias owner George Fistonich was knighted by the Queen. For decades Sir George had served the wine industry (which has a big importance for the overall NZ industry) as an ambassador.


This word represents New Zealand in Maori and I as a vintner kind of represent it’s wine industry. The first vines were planted in NZ 200 years ago but you can say that the real wine business has only been developed during the last 30 years.


Let’s have a look at geography: The Long, thin and narrow country is defined by it’s mountain ranges. Because the west coastal areas are much wetter the winegrowing takes place in the eastern part.


New Zealand is worldwide known for it’s Sauvignon Blanc but really there are much more other grapes growing. We are constantly testing, looking out for new grape varieties that associate well with the ocean climate. It seems for example that the Spanish „Alvarinho“ works well.


„New World“
We definitely have less restrictions and regulations to make our wines. This leaves room to experiment. We are also very collaborative to discuss ideas and provide help to fellow growers. It is not as competitive. We sit down and talk, taste each others wines and when abroad everyone is representative of New Zealand as a country.


„Down Under“
Well that’s what you call it from here, right?! New Zealand sits quite low on the southern hemisphere. So we have a cooler climate with strong ocean influence. And due to the proximity of Antarctica we can even get cold storms during summer.

Thank you Helen!


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