Villa Maria’s sleepless nights on film

Sleepless nights, frost-filled mornings and award-winning wines are all part of a new film, Vintage, to be shown on Virgin Media 3 at 6pm on March 1st this year.
Stu Dudley of Villa Maria and Kate Barry of Villa Maria distributors Barry & Fitzwilliam at the screening.

Stu Dudley of Villa Maria and Kate Barry of Villa Maria distributors Barry & Fitzwilliam at the screening.

“For the first time ever in New Zealand, a winery is capturing the vintage process, peeking behind the curtain of the all-consuming harvest period known as vintage. You’ll see the passion and hard work that goes into every bottle,” says Villa Maria Chief Winemaker, Nick Picone.

An excellent trade and press preview of the film took place recently in the private Stella cinema below decks at the Devlin Hotel in Dublin’s Ranelagh area, hosted by Villa distributors Barry & Fitzwilliam.

On the night Villa Maria Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Celler Select Pinot Noir were served up along with canapés and a buffet supper following the screening.

Villa Maria was the first wine company in the world to move entirely to stelvin closures as it was not satisfied with the quality of the cork enclosures being supplied at the time.

The feature-length documentary explains the highs and lows of making Villa Maria in New Zealand where the VM team take the audience on a journey from pruning the vines to prize-winning results through the harvest or Vintage.

Villa Maria Viticulturist Stu Dudley was there in the Stella cinema in  person on the night, answering questions about the film put to him by the audience through compare Tomás Clancy.

Despite its length, the film holds attention, acutely observing the winemakers’ busiest 40 days of the year as seen through the eyes of a new viticulture apprentice ‘cadet’ Jessica Marston undertaking her first vintage in 2019.

Directed by Colin West, it follows the Master Winemaker Nick Picone, Ollie Powrie (Chief Viticulturist) and Stu, working what seemed like 24-hour days sometimes, coping with the unforeseen challenges of bringing in a successful harvest, nursing the wine through fermentation and maturation or simply surfing the breakers on the less stressful days.

“You can see us looking really tired at the end and that’s not staged, it’s just the way it is,” commented Stu, “When you see a bottle of wine it doesn’t speak of the 12 months of hard work that can either be made or broken within a matter of seconds or minutes.”

This film certainly speaks of that.

See it for yourself on March 1st.



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