In an effort to reflect a more modern and sophisticated look to its wines, the Villa Maria Estate has introduced branding changes to the labels of its Private Bin range.

George Fistonich, managing director of Villa Maria, sees the changes as subtle improvements in keeping with its forward-looking winemaking practices.

He said: "The changes are subtle, but effective. A new design will reinforce our reputation and will ensure we are recognised as a premier wine estate for both quality and design."

The changes to the Private Bin range include a new cream coloured label and a red capsule with a metallic finish for the entire range. The word New Zealand and the varietal names will have a more prominent positioning for easier identification and the Villa Maria crest has been refined to strengthen recognition.

The Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2000, the Riesling 2000, the Private Bin Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot 1999 and the new Pinot Gris 2000 are already available.

Due to be released shortly are Private Bin Marlborough Chardonnay 2001 (February) and the Gisborne Chardonnay 2000 (February).