Dr Thomas Angove founded Angove Family Winemakers in 1886. Originally from Cornwall, England, the doctor and his family moved to Tea Tree Gully in Adelaide, South Australia, where he set up a medical practice. He began making wine as a tonic for his patients, but it soon turned into a fully-fledged business.
Five generations later, the Angove family is still making wine. Siblings Victoria and Richard Angove are now the co-Managing Directors of the business, taking over from their father John, who is now Chairman. But they’re no longer based in Tea Tree Gully. In 1974, the vineyards were compulsorily acquired by the government and the family was forced to move. They considered a number of alternate wine regions, before ending up in McLaren Vale.
Richard’s favourite Angove wine is the 2016 Alternatus Rosé. “Rosé is definitely here to stay. It suits our climate and food.”
“We really redirected our focus – we’re quite a diversified business now,” says Victoria. “Our focus is very much towards McLaren Vale, making very premium single vineyard wines. We’ve got a gorgeous vineyard down there in our Cellar Door.”
Angove also has a commercial wine making operation, based in Renmark, and the business works with a number of different vineyards throughout South Australia.
“We’ve got the Angove McLaren Vale brand, which is all about fine wine. Then Angove Family Winemakers, which is our popular premium wine.”
Quality, sustainability & authenticity
Three things that are very important to Angove Family Winemakers are quality, sustainability and authenticity.
A big part of the company’s sustainability push is a move towards organic wines. “Our aim eventually is to be 100% certified organic in our own vineyards, and we’re currently at 50% or just under 50% because it does take time. It takes three years to have your vineyards certified organic, so we are doing it in a staged manner,” says Richard.
When you visit our Warboys vineyard, you can touch the grapes, you can hear the story. It’s real, it’s not fake. – Victoria Angove
He explains that healthy vines produce the tastiest grapes, and will continue to do so for 100s of years. Plus, he adds, “The organic sections of our vineyard perform the best in tough years because they’re like seasoned athletes. They don’t get any loving from synthetic fertilisers or anything like that, so they push their roots deeper into the soil to search for water.” So it’s in Angove’s best interests to go 100% organic.
And both Richard and Victoria believe that customers want sustainability and authenticity when it comes to their wines.
“When you visit our Warboys vineyard, you can touch the grapes, you can hear the story. It’s real, it’s not fake,” says Victoria. “I think people want truth in what they’re buying. [Angove Family Winemakers] is a very real family business, rather than something that is just stage managed for the sake of marketing. Hopefully that permeates through the brand and the ethos of what we bring to the business.”
A phenomenal team
Another thing that Richard and Victoria agree on is that they owe a lot of their success to “the phenomenal group of people” that work with them at Angove.
“We are so, so lucky to have an incredible team of people. It’s so much bigger than either of us,” says Victoria. Richard agrees, “We’ve got a really good group of personalities within the business that have been with us for a long time; we know how each other work. So, we’ve been quite lucky in that area.”
Having that stable team in place ensured a smooth transition when the pair took over the running of the business from their father. And as co-Managing Directors, the siblings are working hard to maintain the “wonderful culture” that their dad created.