Wine mar­ket grows for Villa Maria in Fiji

Fiji Sun - - Business - WAISEA NASOKIA YANUCA IS­LAND Feed­back: waisean@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.”

WAISEA NASOKIA

Villa Maria (NZ) Ex­port/Pub­lic Re­la­tions man­ager Ian Clark and Vic­to­ria Wines founder Liam Hin­dle. Photo:

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