Hugh Crichton became the Vidal Estate winemaker in 2006, having worked with the Vidal Estate winemaking team in various capacities since 2004. Prior to joining Vidal Estate, Hugh had established a solid winemaking career both in New Zealand and overseas, working vintages at Chateau Soutard Grande Cru Classe in Saint Emilion France, Chard Farm in Central Otago, Donnafugata in Italy and several at Millton Vineyards in Gisborne where his inspiration for environmentally conscious and organic winemaking and viticulture was fostered.
During his time in Europe, Hugh had the opportunity to experience many European wines, which were often more elegant in style and food friendly in nature than their New World counterparts. His exposure to some of the great wines of this style has been a key influence on his winemaking direction. Producing wines which are truly reflective of the region and vineyards where the grapes are grown is also at the core of Hugh’s winemaking philosophy.
Hugh’s passion for excellence has seen him and the Vidal Estate winemaking team achieve many great award successes in recent years, including:
Oliver Styles studied literature at the University of London and the Sorbonne in Paris before starting his career in wine at Decanter magazine, where he spent six formative years tasting and writing about everything from Swedish Sauvignon Blanc to Patagonian Pinot Noir.
After interviewing the late Didier Dagueneau for the magazine in 2007, he was inspired to consider a career change to winemaking. He left the post of Deputy Editor of decanter.com eighteen months later and completed his first vintage in Spain in 2009.
Further vintages in Spain, France and New Zealand followed before he was lured to Hawke's Bay and the promise of working with an array of great wines at Vidal Estate.
Phil completed a Diploma in Horticulture at Massey University before going on to manage orchards across Hawkes Bay for over 15 years, including owing his own orchard for a period. It was in 1999 that Phil discovered his passion for viticulture and has been managing some of our most premium vineyard sites within the group for over 15 years. A testament to Phil’s success was when he collected the Bragato Champion Wine of Show in 2014 for the Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2012, grown on the famous Keltern Vineyard. Phil has picked up a number of other awards in his time also.
Phil is particularly talented at growing young vines, seeing them through to develop into premier sites.