Hugh Crichton

Vidal Estate Winemaker

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. 

Winemakers bag

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 Crichton in the barrel room

Hugh’s passion for excellence has seen him and the Vidal Estate winemaking team achieve many great award successes in recent years, including:

  • Champion Wine of Show & Champion Syrah - Spiegelau International Wine Competition 2012 (NZ)
  • Champion Sauvignon Blanc and/or Sémillon - Hawkes Bay A&P Mercedes-Benz Wine Awards 2012 (NZ)
  • Regional Trophy New Zealand Red Rhône Varietal over £10 - Decanter World Wine Awards 2012 (UK)
  • Champion Classical Red Wine - Bragato Wine Awards 2011 (NZ)
    Champion Chardonnay - Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2011 (NZ)

Assistant Winemaker - Andrew Lebioda


Andrew was born and raised in the vast prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada, about as far from any vineyards as possible. However, known as the Breadbasket of the World, agriculture abounds which instilled an innate appreciation for growing and cultivating crops from a young age.

This appreciation fed a passion for the hospitality industry which saw him working in restaurants while studying Economics at the University of Regina. Upon completion of his studies, Andrew followed his passion to France where he spent a season working in kitchens and private chalets of Chamonix. 

The desire to return to produce and farming led him to working on farmstays across Southern France.  Being surrounded by vineyards and stunning scenery ignited a curiosity for viticulture and winemaking, which quickly evolved into a desire to learn as much about the art and science of winemaking as possible. 

Since his first harvest in France, Andrew has worked numerous vintages in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.  He also completed his Certificate in Winemaking from the University of California, Davis. Andrew worked at Villa Maria Auckland winery as a Cellar hand for 18 months before moving to Hawkes Bay to take up the position of Assistant Winemaker at Vidal Estate.