In 1898 Anthony Joseph Vidal arrived in New Zealand and was one of the first winemakers to appreciate the natural potential of Hawkes Bay. In 1905 he purchased a Hawkes Bay racing stable yard and set about converting it into a cellar and winery. It was from there he became one of New Zealand’s early wine innovators. His commitment to crafting classic, elegant wines remains an inspiration to this day.
Family owned until the 1970’s, Vidal was purchased in 1976 by George Fistonich who has consistently built upon Vidal’s reputation as a quality wine producer ever since. Vidal Estate is also home to New Zealand’s original winery restaurant opening in 1979- a true epicurean experience.
The Vidal winemaking philosophy focuses on minimal intervention from vineyard site to bottle. The result is a collection of award winning and highly acclaimed wines which are true to their roots and exhibit the perfect combination of balance, concentration and complexity..
Interviewed recently by UK wine critic Tom Cannavan, winemaker Hugh Crichton comments that although is synonymous with the Hawkes By wine region m Chardonnay is his favourite grape...“If I was forced to make only one wine from now on, it might be Chardonnay,” he says, stressing how much potential he believes Hawkes Bay has for the variety. “We are not bound by old appellation systems and history,” he says, “so you can ‘have a go’ at anything you want to, and that really encourages innovation. Wine making is science, and science is always changing, so wine should always be moving, and in New Zealand it is.
“Hawkes Bay is already making exceptional Chardonnay and we have a number of truly world class examples. It’s a large diverse region from coastal, to altitude, to cooler central areas, to the Gimblett Gravels. We can grow a lot of things really well, but that can be a confusing mixed message: that we don’t focus; we’re jacks of all trades, masters of none perhaps?”