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Villa Maria head winemaker Alastair Maling to leave

Villa Maria head winemaker Alastair Maling MW is set to leave the winery to join another New Zealand producer, Foley Family Wines.

Alastair Maling MW (pictured), who has been head of winemaking at Villa Maria for 12 years, is to leave the group at the end of June. His position at Foley will be chief group winemaker and head of viticulture.

Decanter named Maling as one of five winemakers to watch back in 2003. He passed his Master of Wine exams in 2000 and replaced the multi-award winning Michelle Richardson at Villa Maria.

In the subsequent decade, Maling and Villa Maria have been at the forefront of New Zealand’s rise to prominence on the international wine scene, especially for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Maling told Decanter.com that, during his time at Villa Maria, he was most proud of ‘developing a long serving and stable winemaking and viticulture team that continues to push the boundaries’.

He added, ‘I’ve learnt a lot at Villa Maria over the last 12 years and it felt now was a good time to refocus and work with a group of brands that I think have a lot of potential.’

Foley Family Wines‘ chief executive, Mark Turnbull, said Maling’s arrival at the business follows a series of investments in the vineyard and the cellar.

Villa Maria’s CEO, Sir George Fistonich, thanked Maling for his contribution to the company.

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Written by Chris Mercer

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