Elephant Hill Appoints Hugh Crichton as New Head Winemaker


Elephant Hill winery, located in Te Awanga, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand is delighted to announce the appointment of award-winning winemaker Hugh Crichton.

Elephant Hill

Hugh will replace Steve Skinner who, after 15 years at Elephant Hill, has decided to step away from the Head Winemaker role and will leave the company. Steve has played a huge part in the founding of Elephant Hill and was instrumental in securing the successes and accolades that the wines have garnered over the years. He has been responsible for developing the style and uncompromized quality that Elephant Hill wines are recognized for today.

Both winemakers will work together over a handover period before Steve’s departure date, as yet unconfirmed.

Hugh was most notably the former winemaker at the historic Vidal Estate, where he worked for over 16 years. He has established a solid winemaking career both in New Zealand and overseas, working vintages at Chateau Soutard 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.

We also announce the appointment of Andrew Vintiner in the new role of Operations & Logistics Manager. Andrew comes from a similar position at Mission Estate, after a decade of winemaking in Europe, California, and New Zealand. Andrews starts on April 27th.

Hugh and Andrew will join Simon Swa, who was appointed as Elephant Hill’s General Manager Sales & Marketing in October 2020. Simon comes with 26 years of experience in the wine industry in the UK and New Zealand, including senior management roles at Champagne Louis Roederer, Sacred Hill, Peregrine Wines and Mission Estate.   

These three appointments are the most recent members of the new team at Elephant Hill, led by Andreas Weiss, CEO.

NOTE: Elephant Hill is privately owned by the Weiss family and opened in 2008. It was established by Roger and Reydan Weiss, who fell in love with the beauty of Te Awanga when visiting from Germany in 2001. It is an ultra-premium producer of small batch, hand crafted wines from vineyards in three sub-regions of Hawke’s Bay.