Villa Maria and Countdown have teamed up to encourage more Kiwis to plant wildflower seeds in their gardens and are highlighting the importance of bees to Aotearoa’s unique biodiversity.

Villa Maria was a founding member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand way back in the mid-1990s. This family-owned winery is continuously trialling ways to reduce its impact on the environment.

Justin Liddell, Villa Maria CEO, says quality wine comes from vines nourished by healthy soils and balanced ecosystems.

“For us sustainability begins in our vineyards and continues in every aspect of the winemaking process.  We have planted more than 700kg of wildflower seeds in our vineyards every year to attract beneficial insects and encourage biodiversity.  Food waste from our Auckland and Hawkes Bay facilities goes to worm farms based on site, which helps to produce fertilizer for our vineyards. Grape skins left over from our winemaking process in Hawkes Bay are turned into compost and used on our vineyards. Our biggest waste streams are effectively recycled or returned to the soil to nourish it,” he says.

“We have a goal of zero waste to landfill by 2025. We’re also leading the way on mitigating our impact on the climate and for over 10 years we’ve been reducing our carbon emissions from things such as waste and energy”.

As a result, Villa Maria has reduced their carbon emissions by 36% per bottle of wine in the last 10 years and has a goal to reach a 50% reduction in five years’ time. Other initiatives such as trialling native grass plantings in the vineyard to manage weeds, switching to renewable energy such as electric forklifts in the warehouse, and investigating alternatives to treated wooden posts in the vineyard shows Villa Maria remains one of the pioneers in this space.  

“We know our customers care about the environment, and so do we. Being environmentally responsible is inherent in the long-term view we take of not only our business, but the wine industry as a whole.”

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, says protecting the environment, reducing waste and lowering its carbon footprint are critical areas of focus for Countdown, and the supermarket is keen to support local suppliers who share this passion.

“As a food business, we are acutely aware of the fragility of our precious environment as well as the huge importance bees play in our biodiversity and food supply chain. 

“Planting more wildflowers and encouraging more bees into gardens is an easy way to help make a positive difference,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Look out for more information on this wildflower initiative on neck tags on Villa Maria wines in store. From this week, Villa Maria and Countdown will also support Trees That Count to plant 2000 native trees in New Zealand this year.


●             Over 30% of Villa Maria owned vineyards are managed organically, which means not using synthetic chemicals. The company has a goal to make that 100% by 2030.

●             Villa Maria ensures their packaging includes recycled material and can be easily recycled. 

●             Villa Maria reduced the weight of their bottles by 16% and reduced shrink wrap by the equivalent of 10 single use plastic bags per pallet sent from their warehouse.

●             Villa Maria’s used label backing paper is recycled into baking paper, removing approximately 36 tonnes per annum from landfill.   

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