Wine market grows for Villa Maria in Fiji
Wine culture is strong and growing rapidly in Fiji. Villa Maria (NZ) Export/Public Relations manager Ian Clark made this statement during the Villa Maria six course dinner at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort at Yanuca Island, Nadroga, on Friday night. Certain guests and local media were invited to enjoy the culinary delights that the team from the resort prepared where each course was paired, with a premium wine selected by their partner, Victoria Wines. Mr Clark said: “We have been in the Fiji market for 20 years as our importer visited me 20 years ago and wanted to have Wine and Spirits Licenses in Fiji. “So we started buying wine to lift the market in Fiji so that stage was Australian one also they want to start with New Zealand so gave some ideas.” He said they sought services of a yacht and sailed in with some stock and did wine tasting from resort to resort in introducing their wine. “New Zealand wines are doing particularly well.We also have lovely elegant fresh flavours that fit and suites the Fiji and Pacific climate,” Mr Clark said.
“New Zealand wines exported to Fiji, is about 20,000 cases a year coming through, so for us so far that’s very good, but in NZ we have 24 million cases a year.” Shangri-La’s’Fijian Resort and Spa general manager, Craig Powell, added they can showcase the wines on occasions as such and pair it with food as they go well together. He said NZ is producing some of the bestselling wines in the world and they are exporting more than 75 per cent of their wines. This, he said, showed how far they have come.
“Fiji is very fortunate and we’ve got a very good soil and we have variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that was evident because our chef thought to really showcase what we have here.” Locally based, Victoria Wines founder Liam Hindle further said its growing everywhere and its taking little bit longer in Fiji because wines are expensive than beer. He added women drink wine possibly more than men in Fiji. Mr Hindle established Victorian Wines at Victoria Parade,Suva and was the first to approach the Villa Maria winery 24 years ago.
“Villa Maria is being very important in Fiji. I have seen them grow from a small family owned winery into the famous winery in the world.”
Villa Maria (NZ) Export/Public Relations manager Ian Clark and Victoria Wines founder Liam Hindle. Photo: