The Angove winemaking story began in 1886 when Dr William Thomas Angove established a medical practice in Tea Tree Gully in the beautiful rolling Adelaide foothills twenty kilometres North East of the centre of Adelaide, South Australia.
It was not long after his arrival that Dr Angove began experimenting with vines and winemaking, initially as a tonic for his patients. He established his own vineyards in Tea Tree Gully and by 1892 had 10 acres in production, a further 20 acres were planted in 1893 and by 1903 the Angove vineyard holdings were 100 acres. His early wines were made from grapes grown on his own vineyards as well as those from the ‘Warboys Vineyard’ owned by Henry Hall. Wines were made at Brightlands cellars owned by Archdeacon Henry Farr until the establishment of the St Agnes winery in 1907.
Dr Angove continued to practise medicine at Tea Tree Gully until his death (in England) in 1912 by which time his winemaking activities had expanded to become a serious family business as Angove and Son’s, St Agnes Vineyards.
Dr Angove’s son Thomas ‘Skipper’ Angove went on to pioneer winemaking in the Riverland of South Australia establishing wineries in Renmark and Lyrup. From the early 1900’s until the 1970’s the Angove Family made wine across three winery sites. Fine, still red and white wines and Sherry were made at Tea Tree Gully from the super-premium vineyards surrounding the winery while brandy and fortifieds were the focus of the Renmark and Lyrup operations in the Riverland.
The third generation, Thomas William Carlyon Angove always had an interest in the family business and studied Oenology at Roseworthy graduating as Dux and receiving the Leo Buring Medal for highest aggregate in all diploma subjects, the RH Martin tasting prize and the Karl Weidenhofer prize for an individual project on modified distillation procedure which today is still published worldwide.
In 1946 he was appointed Managing Director and began a new era of development. New storage and crushing facilities were installed and a large ‘Vintage House’ was built at Renmark housing thirty-two five tonne concrete open fermenters. These continue to be used today, receiving some of the Angove family’s premium fruit from McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. Tom also oversaw the planting of the Nanya Vineyard in Renmark, a 480 Hectare vineyard planted to 26 different grape varieties to supply the company’s commercial wine and brandy brands.
During the 1970’s the urban sprawl of Adelaide began to reach the vineyards around Tea Tree Gully and in the late 70’s the land was compulsorily acquired by the state government for housing. This spelt the end of the wine industry and other agricultural businesses in the region. The Angove winery at Tea Tree Gully processed its last fruit on site in 1979. With the strike of a politicians pen the region that three generations of Angove had worked hard to develop was rezoned to make way for suburban Adelaide. At much the same time the Lyrup winery was closed with all production moving to Renmark.
In 1983 the fourth generation of the family, John Carlyon Angove succeeded his father as Managing Director of the company after studying economics and science and working. John has driven significant development and investment in all aspects of the business including continued redevelopment at the Nanya Vineyard, investment in world leading bottling technology and the successful rebranding of the business to Angove Family Winemakers.
John, recognising the loss of the company’s key vineyard holdings in Tea Tree Gully began to look for suitable replacements. The company purchased an historic vineyard in McLaren Vale in 2008 located on the corner of Oliver’s and Chalk Hill Roads in the Seaview sub-region of McLaren Vale. The vineyard was re-named ‘Warboys Vineyard’ and is planted to old vine Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
In 2011 the company released the new flagship wine, an old vine McLaren Vale Shiraz called ‘The Medhyk’. Medhyk, Cornish for “Doctor” commemorates the company’s founder, Dr William Angove. The Medhyk Shiraz is a barrel selection of only our best parcels of McLaren Vale Shiraz.
During this same year the first soil was turned on a new Cellar Door Sales facility located at the ‘Warboys Vineyard’ on Chalk Hill Road in McLaren Vale.
The fifth generation of Angove’s, John’s son Richard and daughter Victoria are both actively involved in the family business. Victoria currently sits on the Board of Directors while raising the sixth generation while Richard is driving the McLaren Vale business development.
From humble beginnings in Tea Tree Gully, we have grown to become one of Australia’s oldest family owned and operated wine companies.
From Cornwall to McLaren Vale the journey continues.