Villa Maria has achieved a record-breaking fourth Champion Wine of Show title at the latest Gisborne Regional Wine Awards. Its Private Bin Gisborne Viognier 2015 headed off a few more fancied drops to take the GisVin sponsored award. While the winery's previous trophies have gone to the Gisborne Chardonnay, this year Viognier won judges’ hearts.

“The New Zealand wine industry is cognisant of the fact that we may not always be able to rely on Sauvignon Blanc, so to see an emerging variety like Viognier take out the top prize at one of our national wine competitions is fantastic,” said Nick Picone, chief winemaker, Villa Maria Group. “This comes right at a time where consumers are telling us they’re willing and interested in trying new wines.”

Chief judge Simon Nunns said that the chardonnay class had been a real stand-out for him, but he also praised the winning Viognier, which he described as ‘delightful’.