Villa Maria-Nick Picone

Nick is Villa Maria's Group Chief Winemaker.

Nick was honoured with The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year title in 2012 which is awarded to Australasia's top young winemaker. He was the first New Zealander to receive this prestigious accolade

Nick had an early start in winemaking, completing his first vintage at Esk Valley Estate in Hawkes Bay when he was 18.

After completing his BA in wine science, he became Villa Maria’s youngest Assistant Winemaker at 24 with a shift to the South Island’s Marlborough region, before becoming Winemaker in 2004.

2004 also saw Nick awarded the Yalumba scholarship to attend the Len Evans tutorial in the Hunter Valley, which initiated his presence in New Zealand wine judging circles.

In 2006 Nick moved to Auckland, becoming Villa Maria’s Senior Auckland Winemaker in 2008, from thereon overseeing Villa’s North Island production, which is primarily from Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. Nick has also completed vintages in California and Italy. His passion lies with Chardonnay and Gimblett Gravels reds.

Nick was awarded joint winner of the New Zealand Winemaker of the Year title at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards in 2011.

He has two children with his fiancée Mandy, and enjoys playing guitar and sharing good food and wine with family and friends.