Our People


Richard Painter studied a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geography at Otago. Whilst living in Dunedin, he spent four years managing the legendary Bath St. Nightclub. During this stint in hospitality Richard began attending wine clubs and tastings. He soon realised that not only did he really enjoy drinking wine, but also that the process of making wine was intrinsically linked to soil science and climatology and therefore appeared to be a practical application of what he studied in Physical Geography. This burgeoning interest in wine took him to Lincoln University in 2006, to complete a Graduate Diploma in Winemaking and Viticulture.

Richard started off his career in the wine industry working in vineyards in Central Otago, Canterbury and Nelson. During a year working at Neudorf Vineyard’s in Nelson, he discovered an interest with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and wanted to learn more about these wines. This lead him to travel to Oregon to work for Owen Roe Winery and as fate would have it ended up working in their facility in Washington State. Again his curiosity with different varietals was piqued and he fell in love with making (and naturally drinking) bold red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blends and Syrah.

This love of red wine is what brought Richard to Hawkes Bay as he wanted to work with fruit from the famous Gimblett Gravels sub-region. He joined Vidal Estate for the 2008 vintage and then stayed on to become the Assistant Winemaker in 2011. Working at Vidal also rekindled his passion for Chardonnay and reaffirmed his view that Hawkes Bay produces world class wines from this variety, the finest white wine of them all. 

“I am really excited to take on the winemaking reins at Te Awa. It is a special site that has produced fine wine for many years now as well as having a fantastic Restaurant and Cellar door. The soil composition of the different zones of the vineyard, ranging from very gravelly to more sand and silt loam, allow us to produce a range of varieties all on the one Estate, that always display both finesse and a wonderful depth of flavour.”


John van der Linden has developed a wealth of viticultural experience having grown up on a vineyard, as well as having owned and managed his own vineyards and lectured in Viticulture.

Since 1987, John has worked as a Viticulturist in both Hawkes Bay and Marlborough. He is a fervent believer grape growing must leave a delicate footprint on the land and is committed to sustainability. John’s enjoys keeping fit, playing guitar, listening to music, Hi Fi, technology, design and watching sport.