Case study – Angove Family Winemakers

Angove Family Winemakers has a rich history dating back to 1886, when Dr William Thomas Angove emigrated from England to South Australia and started making wine as a tonic for his patients.  Over five generations, Angove has become one of Australia’s largest and most successful family-owned wine producers.

From 1990 Angove used D&D Wines as its agent and distributor for the UK.  When D&D collapsed in 2012, a large number of suppliers from around the world were owed large sums of money for wine supplied.  Most of them had little prospect of recovering anything, but Angove was in an unusual position.  There was circa A$890,000 owing from two UK customers for wine which Angove had supplied.  Angove believed it was entitled to that money.  D&D’s liquidators said no, it belonged to D&D and should go into the pot for all the creditors.  Eventually – after a five year legal battle that went all the way to the UK Supreme Court – Angove’s argument was upheld and they were paid in full.  You can read an account of the litigation published in Harpers here.

Andrew Park represented Angove throughout the litigation, taking instructions from John Angove, its Managing Director and Chairman:

“The collapse of D&D in 2012 was the start of a long and difficult time for us.  Five years of litigation and cost to eventually achieve an outcome through the UK Supreme Court was a once in a lifetime experience.

Andrew’s running of the process from day one to the end was nothing short of exemplary.  His attention to detail, his ability to record in detail the contents of many lengthy phone discussions, his clear understanding of the core legal issues in the case – and ability to explain them to a non-legal mind – all of these were a great source of confidence and comfort for us.

Our willingness to pursue the case through to the Supreme Court with the substantial cost and time that it involved, was greatly encouraged by Andrew’s ability and commitment to see justice prevail.  His willingness to seek advice from others to support, or test, his own view was also reassuring for us.

The final outcome was a clear vindication that our pursuit was correct.  In consideration of all the factors it is hard to see how a better outcome could have been achieved.”