Grapegrowers are the lifeblood of the Barossa, and nowhere is this passion for vines more evident than at Schild Estate.
One of the largest family-owned grapegrowers making wine in the Barossa Valley, Schild Estate’s story spans four generations growing the best grapes possible in their southern Barossa home. And while history is important, family is everything.
From humble beginnings in Germany, the Schild family arrived in Australia in 1866 and made their home in the Barossa. In 1952, Ben Schild purchased the first of the Schild family vineyards, which have since grown in size to 165 hectares.
Ed Schild took the reins of the business at the age of 15, when his father tragically died. After three decades of growing grapes, Ed decided to make a little wine under the Schild Estate label in 1998.
“We reserve the very best of our grapes for our own Schild Estate wines,” says Ed Schild. “A great deal of time is spent in each of our 12 vineyards, assessing the fruit for desired varietal flavours and quality, in partnership with our winemaker Scott Hazeldine.”
The 12 Schild Estate vineyards are spread across the Lyndoch and Rowland Flat subregions, allowing the family take advantage of the patchwork of soils and mesoclimates.
Ed continues to drive the Schild Estate business, along with three of his children, Michael, Judy and Leanne. And now some of Ed’s grandchildren – generation four – are working in the business.
Family connections also run deeply through the three distinct wine ranges at Schild Estate.
In the entry level Estate Range, bottles are decorated with images of the Schild family at work, including Ed’s hands on the Barossa Valley Shiraz and Michael’s legs on the Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bottles in the second tier Cellar Reserve range feature the names of first and second generation Schild family members: the Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz, the Edgar Schild Reserve Old Bush Vine Grenache, the Alma Schild Reserve Chardonnay and the Lorraine Schild Reserve Late harvest Semillon.
The Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz has received critical acclaim, including Best of Show – Australian Red award at the 2019 Berline International Wine Trophy Competition . “This is a beloved part of our range, and pays tribute to our founder, my father,” says Ed Schild.
Schild Estate’s top tier Limited Release range is a rare collection of the very best wines from the estate. This range has captured the imagination of wine lovers and reviewers around the world.
The Narrow Wine Shiraz Cabernet ($70) is the newest wine from Schild Estate and this vineyard holds a special place in the Schild family’s heart. “Narrow Road is the road we grew up on, and my brother still lives there with his family,” says Judy Schild. “It’s a really special place to grow grapes. We only make 10 barrels of this wine.”
The Prämie Shiraz ($50), named after the German word for ‘reward’, comes from the Liebich Vineyard, also found on the famous Narrow Road. The original township of Rowland Flat was located on this road, now officially known as Steingarten Road.
The Moorooroo Shiraz ($199), which was awarded 99 points in the 2019 James Halliday Wine Companion, is a celebration of the estate’s oldest vines. This vineyard was planted in 1847 by the Jacob family, and was purchased by the Schild family in 1984.
“Dad originally had 16 rows of Moorooroo vines, but when the wine oversupply occurred and the government was offering growers money to pull out vines, my dad – not understanding the significance of those ancient vines – pulled out 12 rows. Then, luckily, the tractor broke down. We think there was some divine intervention involved to ensure we were left with four rows of these beautiful 150-year-old plus vines,” Judy says.
The Moorooroo Limited Release Shiraz is made from one of the oldest Shiraz vineyards in Australia, and arguably the world, planted in 1847.
“We’re incredibly proud of this vine heritage. We know we’re custodians of this special place. It’s our job to care for the vines and pass them on to generations to come,” Judy says.