Australia's Southcorp wine group directors and managers faced open anger from hundreds of shareholders at today's annual meeting.

Typical of the mood of the Adelaide meeting was shareholder Steve Randall who attacked the A$1.4m (US$960,000) payout to ousted managing director Keith Lambert. "I would have thought it would have been to the greatest benefit if Keith Lambert had gone to one of our competitors," he said amid applause.

Another shareholder, Eric Hansford who drove overnight to attend the meeting told the board: "We're owners of this company. You work for us. How about helping us?"

Chairman Brian Finn and managing director John Ballard agreed shareholders had a right to anger. Ballard said the wave of complaints was "an opportunity to get closure on the past, put it behind us and move on."

But he chose not to respond to a woman shareholder who said: "This is mine and my fellow shareholders answer," opening a musical, greeting card, which blew a raspberry at the gathered board.