Corey Vandeleur was born and bred in McLaren Vale. His parents, Peter and Janis Vandeleur, were the local publicans for 32 years. His parents sold the business when he was seventeen years old. It was inevitable growing up in McLaren Vale that he was destined to work in the wine industry.
After his fair share of grape picking and hanging off the back of grape harvesters in the wee hours, he landed a job at Maglieri Winery in 1990 under winemaker John Loxton. On weekends he set up and planted what is now the Bellevue Estate Vineyard. Corey remained with Maglieri for seven years before heading overseas to do vintage at Geyser Peak in Sonoma County in California under Daryl Groom. Following this, Corey worked harvest at Zandvliet Winery in South Africa and eventually worked at three Chateaus in Bordeaux for the Despagne family. For the last ten years he worked for Hardys Tintara Winery before creating the Bellevue Label with his wife Michelle, who also has extensive knowledge of the wine industry with over 17 years of experience. Michelle is the recent recipient of the ‘2011 Madec Outstanding Cellar Door Person of the Year’ award.
Although Corey never formally studied oenology he has over 30 vintages under his belt and believes you don’t have to be a qualified mechanic to rebuild your engine if you know what you’re doing.
“I believe the hardest decision a winemaker has to make is sometimes not to make a decision at all and that’s where I come in. I don’t even go in football tipping as it is eight less decisions a week I have to make. I owe this to my time in Bordeaux where i learnt that wine was made in the vineyard and only fermented in the winery. Only adding yeast and a slight acid adjustment if required, I guide the ferment with the aid of cooling. If converting sugar to alcohol is called winemaking I guess that is what I do.”
It is definitely a family affair with father Peter picking out the petioles for days post harvest, mother Jan keeping everyone fed and daughters Millie and Maya keeping them in check.