Winemaker, Angela Meaney
I grew up on a wheat and sheep farm at Appila in the Southern Flinders Ranges region, where my family has farmed for generations. My Dad, Des Meaney, planted the vines for Bundaleer Vineyard and I have created all our wines since the beginning.
I really fell into winemaking, not knowing what career path to take when I left school, I obtained seasonal work in the laboratory at Hardy’s Tintara Winery at McLaren Vale during vintage and found I enjoyed it. I decided to follow my interest and found myself managing laboratories within the wine industry, firstly at a contract wine bottling facility, then at Normans Winery at Clarendon, South Australia.
Normans promoted me to assistant winemaker so it seemed natural to seek formal training and qualifications. I obtained my Wine Science degree from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga six years later after studying part time by correspondence. During this time I changed jobs to become the Winemaker at Chapel Hill Winery in McLaren Vale, where I worked for nine years, I also spent the 1999 vintage at Fattoria Zerbina Winery in the Emilia Romagna region in Italy.
Whilst I was working at Chapel Hill our two families (Meaney & Spurling) decided to plant a vineyard in 1998 just behind the Bundaleer Forest in the Southern Flinders Ranges region of South Australia. Bundaleer Wines eventually grew big enough to demand more of my attention, so at the end of 2006 I took the plunge and moved on from Chapel Hill to spend more time making and marketing Bundaleer Wines. I now live in Clare, where I make our range of Bundaleer Wines at the Stone Bridge Winery.
Our red wines are made exclusively from the Shiraz and Cabernet vines we grow at Bundaleer Vineyard, near Jamestown. I personally select grapes for our white wines from premium vineyards in the Clare Valley – concentrating on varieties that do well in the region.
It is easier to make good wine from quality fruit and I like to let the fruit speak for itself without too much interference. We use a blend of American and French oak in our red wines and depending on the year, they usually rest in barrel for approximately 18 months prior to bottling.
Every vintage brings a new challenge and my favourite time of the year is tasting the ripe berries straight from the vine to get an idea of the flavour profile and to decide when they are ready for harvest. My most stressful time (apart from in the midst of vintage) is just prior to bottling, as once the wines are in the bottle there is nothing more I can do to contribute to the flavour.
The most exciting time in my career was winning the award for the “Wine of the Year” from the Consumer Judges at the 2008 Hyatt/Advertiser South Australian Wine of the Year awards for our Sparkling Shiraz. Sadly my Dad passed away a few months after this but it was great that he was around to share this achievement, as he was one of the founders of Bundaleer and planted the vineyard himself. As well as being the Best Sparkling Red from both the Professional & Consumer panel of judges in 2008 we went on to take both awards in the same competition again in 2011. All of our range of wines has won numerous awards over the years which are always a great thrill and shows me that we must be doing something right!
The Bundaleer wines are a style that can be approached as a young wine but will age gracefully, if you can wait that long!