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Balancing the Grind with Victoria Angove, Managing Director of Angove Family Winemakers

Victoria Angove is the Managing Director of Angove Family Winemakers, one of Australia’s oldest family-owned and operated wine companies.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am Joint Managing Director of Angove Family Winemakers, sharing the role with my brother, Richard, since taking over from our Dad, John, in 2017. We are one of Australia’s oldest family-owned and operated wine companies, established in 1886 by our great, great grandfather. We are the fifth generation to be involved.

Ever since I was a little girl I had wanted to be involved in the business. After studying at the University of Adelaide, I spent time working overseas in Canada and the wine trade in the UK before returning to Australia.

Over the last 20 years I have undertaken primarily sales and marketing oriented roles, with responsibility for export sales to Asia and Europe and a lot of time working in the USA to develop our brand there.

On the home front, I am married to Heath, and mum (my very favourite role) to Emily (12) and Henry (10).

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Every day is different which I love, though COVID has changed my days dramatically. Pre-COVID there was a lot of travel involved in the role, hosting various wine tastings and dinners, and selling and promoting our wines, much of this has been put on hold due to current restrictions.

I am an early riser, up around 5am to exercise (a run or a walk) before getting the children sorted out for school. We have sporty children so there seem to be a lot of early sports practices at the moment and then it’s usually into the office in Adelaide for Zoom meetings, phone calls and emails.

Our winery is about 3 hours from Adelaide, and I try to get there most weeks. It’s an early start and a late finish, but it is always great to be at the winery and spend time with our team. We have a stunning cellar door and vineyards in McLaren Vale that Richard and Sophie (our sister) oversee, but I also like to try and get there once or twice a month.

After work, it is either running around for more kid’s sport or home for a family dinner. We try to eat dinner together as often as we can, I’m hoping that the work we’re doing on table manners will eventually pay off!

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

It is reasonably easy for me to work flexibly and remotely, like many others, our team has adapted over the last twelve months to work from home when needed.

In my role, I find it more effective over the long term to work from the office rather than from home and I am fortunate to have a short 5-minute commute to our Adelaide office, so that makes things a lot easier.

For me, in-person meetings are always so much more collaborative and stimulating and the ability to build rapport, relationships and culture is so much easier.

I’ve always been a big believer in the importance of visibility around the different sites that we operate, that was always an important element of my Dad’s leadership style and it served him and the business well.

Time spent at the winery and with the team or out in the marketplace either here in Australia, or overseas almost always delivers insights and new ideas that you just wouldn’t get sitting at a desk at home.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I’m afraid I’m not a current subscriber to the “work-life balance” goal – to me it implies a magical formula for time allocation that just isn’t real world, and the concept fails to take into account that life is messy.

I’ve often wondered whether striving for the elusive “balance” can also be an area of self-flagellation which isn’t overly helpful for anyone.

I’m lucky to really love the work that I do and to feel inspired and motivated by the people I work with. Before I had a family, I worked significantly longer hours and was overseas a lot promoting our wine to international markets. It was an incredibly exciting and rewarding decade, but it was just one phase in life where I loved working hard.

Life cycles through different phases and as family commitments came into the equation, things evolved naturally for me.

Over the last twelve years, I have been clear on what my priorities are, and this has flowed through to being disciplined around time management and commitments. I say no a lot more than I used to – there is always a cost to saying yes – so whatever I say yes to needs to be worth it.

I have a great supportive husband. We both always wanted really full lives, we share that intent which I think helps us support each other. We also have a lot of support! My parents are a constant source of support and guidance, a lovely group of friends that keep me sane and we also have help with the children after school, so we are very lucky in that regard.

The children are at an age now (12 and 10) where they are finding their independence which is terrific and does make some of the day to daytime management a bit easier than when they were very little.

Do we get it right all of the time? Absolutely not, no one does, but that’s all just a part of the ride.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

As a family, we all started mountain bike riding last year which we have all loved. If anyone had told me 5 years ago that at 43, I’d be throwing myself down steep tracks on a mountain bike I would never have believed them!

I’ve had a few crashes that the children find both embarrassing and hilarious but so far have only damaged my ego. We are now booking holidays based around where we can go riding. We have loved holidaying ‘at home’ – South Australia is just beautiful and has so much to offer.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I listen to a lot of podcasts, especially driving to and from Renmark, which is a 6-hour round trip. A few I’ve been listening to lately – Daily Stoic, a16z, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Learning Leader Show, No Bullshit Leadership, HBR’s various podcasts, The Ultimate Health Podcast, TED Talks, ABC’s Conversations, Brene Brown, the list goes on.

I’ve just finished reading Unorthodox and the Dictionary of Lost Words, both of which I loved, and I am about to start Honeybee.

In the professional development realm, I’m a Harvard Business Review subscriber and also enjoy reading A Balanced Glass email newsletters. I am reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman at the moment, though very slowly! Reading needs to jump up on the priority list again.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Not really, though my husband Heath and I are reliant on Outlook Calendar invites to keep everything running smoothly and to know where everyone needs to be.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Everyone has a story and there are so many people that I’ve learnt various and random things from over the years. I love having my mind opened to different people’s experiences and perspectives and there’s always something new to learn.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

You can only do your best at any given time – and that is enough.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.