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Nick Picone

Nick is Villa Maria's Group Chief Winemaker.

Nick has been with or around the Villa Maria Group for almost twenty years, beginning as a teenager at Esk Valley Estate where his natural ability and passion for winemaking were recognised. In this time Nick has made wines from all of New Zealand’s main winegrowing regions, as well as completing several harvests abroad in Italy and the United States.

After four years as a Winemaker for Villa Maria in Marlborough, Nick moved to Auckland with Villa in 2006 and took charge of the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne production in 2008. In 2015 Nick was promoted to Group Chief Winemaker, he continues to head up Villa Maria’s north island wines but now works closely with all of Villa Maria’s Family of Wines.

Career highlights for Nick include being made the NZ recipient of the Len Evans tutorial scholarship in 2004 which helped initiate his presence in wine judging. He has been a NZ wine show judge for over ten years and has also judged for Cuisine, Winestate, Dish, and NZ Winegrowers. Nick has been named winner of NZ ‘Winemaker of the Year’ or ‘Winemaker of show’ on six occasions over the last six years including the honour of being named The Wine Society Australasian Young Winemaker of the Year in 2012. He was the first New Zealander to receive this prestigious accolade.

He is now based back in his home province of Hawkes Bay with his wife Mandy and three children Gemma, Hayden and Millie.