Richard (Dick) Bunton | Owner & Chairman
Rockburn’s Chairman Dick Bunton could be best described as a “pinophyle”. Loving all things Pinot Richard can often be found at the holy grail of Pinot Noir - Burgundy, France. Dick’s interest in wine is longstanding and started in his youth on visits to a favourite Uncle who had travelled extensively and who always had wine on the table at dinner time! At university his interest grew, flatting with like-minded students who shared his passion for all things vinous.
Once qualified and practicing as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, it was only a matter of time before Dick’s passion became a hobby and in 1991 he established a vineyard at Lake Hayes near Arrowtown, planting the seeds from which Rockburn was eventually born.
Nearly a local, Dick is originally from Waianiwa in central Southland. Now residing in Dunedin, but a frequent visitor to Rockburn’s vineyards and winery, Dick is currently Head of Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Dunedin Hospital.
Dick is married to Lynley and they have three daughters – Amanda, Emma and Victoria, all of whom share his love of wine and all things Rockburn.
Chris James | Owner & Director
The story goes that Chris joined Rockburn in 1999 after being plied large amounts of Pinot Noir by Dick Bunton! However, unbeknown to Dick, at the time he was preaching to the converted, as having sold his previous business interests Chris was looking for an involvement in the exciting new wine industry developing in Central Otago.
As Rockburn grew, Chris took on the challenge of developing its sales and distribution network in New Zealand and Australia. Chris’ passion for Pinot Noir is equaled by his love of the stunning Central Otago region. He enjoys all it offers, including fishing in its pristine rivers, exploring its cycle ways and supporting its diverse restaurant scene.
His other great passion being golf, Chris can more often than not be found or the on the golf course with wife Judy, or spreading the Rockburn story over a great glass of Pinot after a round in the 19th!
Chris and Judy have two sons and a daughter.
Paul Halford | Owner & Director
An Auckland native, Paul has shared living between Auckland and Central Otago for the last 20 plus years; the perfect set-up for his action packed life! Paul’s interests include skiing, flying helicopters, fishing, classic car collecting and motor racing. He can often be seen flying the Rockburn flag campaigning in one of his two Rockburn branded race cars – a 2003 Maserati Cambiocorsa Trofeo and a 911 Porsche RS.
Paul’s involvement in Rockburn was the result of a combination of his love of the landscapes of Central Otago and his passion for Pinot Noir, which was developed while vacationing in Burgundy, France. Paul’s early career was in packaging and over time he founded and owned successful businesses in this sector. He sold all interests in these in 2004 to focus on being a Vigneron, and has bought his considerable expertise in the finance and marketing arenas to Rockburn.
Paul is married to Glenys and they have 3 daughters.
Rebecca Poynter | General Manager
After extensive travel and work in the hospitality industry in New Zealand, the USA and Europe; advertising, marketing and chefs qualifications led Rebecca into a New Zealand based sales role with internationally recognised wine company Villa Maria Estate in 1995.
Since then Rebecca has held sales, marketing, export and general management roles in the New Zealand and Australian wine industries selling and marketing wines from various regions such as Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Auckland, the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Rebecca’s senior management experience encompasses wine businesses with both family and offshore corporate ownership.
She has managed Australian wineries in the Hunter Valley and Coonawarra and is delighted to be back in New Zealand as part of the Rockburn team and to work in the exciting Central Otago wine industry.
Malcolm Rees-Francis | Winemaker
Being born into a South Canterbury sheep-farming family meant Malcolm knew he didn’t want to be a farmer for the rest of his life, so it was off to Otago University to study Microbiology. Four years later Malcolm knew he didn’t want to be a scientist for the rest of his life, but hey winemaking sounds like fun...
Seven years in the industry later he discovered his Great-Great-Great-Grandfather was from a winegrowing family in the Azores; and his draw to the world of wine suddenly made a lot of sense.
Equally strong was the draw to the dusty tors and burns of Central Otago, where Pinot Noir rules with an iron fist (although it wears a velvet glove). First as Assistant Winemaker at lauded Felton Road, and now as solo Winemaker at Rockburn, Malcolm continues a tradition of excellence, with the occasional break for rocking out in the barrel hall.