Angela Clifford, Managing Director – also The Linguist – of Tongue in Groove Wines, wears a lot of different hats, representing New Zealand Riesling and Pinot Noir on social media platforms, she is also the Summer of Riesling Girl, and may well be considered by some as Pinot Madam.
Angela originally established the Barossa Valley Farmers Market and was vice chair for the NZ Farmers Market Executive and now lives in North Canterbury where she not only makes wines under the quirky Tongue in Groove labels with her business partner and winemaker Lynnette Hudson, but she also grows food organically on the permaculture inspired #FoodFarm – WOW!
Hi Angela, thanks a lot for taking the time to let us find out a bit more about you. Let’s get straight into it …
Number of years in the wine industry
Waiter, Annie’s Wine Bar, Arts Centre Christchurch.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
There is no typical day! Anything from helping Lynnette (my business partner & winemaker) put together blends, topping barrels, picking grapes, showing people the wines, applying importer labels, getting export docs, doing budgets….You get the picture!
I guess it’s part & parcel of having our own business. There is very little we don’t all do.
If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
One that reflects the place it came from but disregards appellation dogma.
What would you do if you wouldn’t do your current job?
Grow food full time. Our HQ is our property The Food Farm where we grow most of our own food. Ducks, a milking cow, sheep, chickens, pigs, fruit and vegetables. And a fine crop of crazies (children).
Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
A chance to live our lives around the seasons, to live in the country and grow something from land we have a connection to. To be part of a community that values time together more than money and takes all opportunities to celebrate the one short life we’ve been given.
What’s so special about New Zealand wine?
The people and the extraordinarily beautiful land we’ve been entrusted with. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to look after it properly.
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
Something we’ve grown or foraged alongside a wine we’ve grown. There is an immense sense of satisfaction and well-being in that moment.
Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I’m a fan of Tank Girl. A 1980s post-apocalyptic anti-heroine. I’ve always been a little bit of an anti-establishmentarian.
Hidden gems and favourite spots in your area
- The view from Iron Ridge Quarry down the Waipara Gorge.
- Looking across the Valley from the restaurant at Black Estate
- The White Gorge at Claremont Estate
- The Rocks at Amberley Beach
- The view from the top of the Greystone Vineyard
- The gardens at Pegasus Bay Winery
- The top of the Mt. Cass walkway
- The Maori Rock Art area in Waikari
I could go on and on. This whole region is a series of hidden gems, all of them worth uncovering.
Things you still want to do
Travel more, especially spend some significant time in Italy.
Last book read
Dan Barber’s “The Third Plate”. Should be compulsory reading for all food and wine farmers.
Advice on buying wine
Find someone who loves wine. Ask them constantly for advice until you’ll confident enough to experiment yourself. Then never stop experimenting. Never buy wine from a supermarket.
Give up the $12 Tuesday night bottle so you can have a $35 Saturday night bottle. Only spend your money on wine you know the back story of. Then it’s not just a drink, it’s an experience.
We put so much of our lives into that bottle it should always be an experience to drink it.
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
So many people. If you make me choose one, I’d say Brandon from Humans of New York. His insight into the human condition must be extraordinary by now. No prejudice, no bias, just observation.
If you’d like to get to know us more, by far the simplest thing you can do is follow us on Instagram. It’s the day to day story of our lives. Best enjoyed with a glass of our wine for proper context.
Thank you so much Angela for your time and glimpse into your busy life!