from Francoli Distillers, where he has spent two years as export manager.
Nick Picone has been promoted to the position of Villa Maria's senior Auckland winemaker. Picone has been with the Villa Maria Estate Group for 11 years. Between 2003 and 2006, he was based at the Villa Maria Marlborough Winery, where he worked under senior winemaker George Geris. Alastair Mailing MW, Villa Maria group winemaker, said: "With Nick's wide range of experience working in Hawke's Bay, Marlborough and Auckland, his strong understanding of all our wine regions and his natural winemaking ability we are all excited and confident to have him at the helm in the Auckland winery."
Corpora Vineyards & Wineries has expanded into Argentina with a strategic alliance with Bodegas Universo Austral. Through the new venture with the Vidal and Pujante families, Corpora will be Latin America's southernmost premium wine producer, with the finest quality and diversity of terroir from Patagonia, across the Andes, to the Bío Bío. Universo Austral produces wines
under the Argentinian appellations,
San Patricio del Chañar and Añelo, with 230ha of vineyards in full production and a high-tech winery with a capacity for 2.4
million litres of premium wines.
The Washington Wine Commission has set up a new communications team consisting of former OLN writer Gary Werner and Ryan Pennington. Since 2003 the number of Washington State wine producers has more than doubled to over 550 and subsequently the need to organise and convey information about this dynamic wine industry is greater than ever before. Commission executive director Robin Pollard says: "Ryan and Gary are committed to developing a comprehensive and compelling communications strategy for this industry, and we are very excited about the enthusiasm, expertise and experience they bring to the task."