Barossa Valley Wineries: Introducing Schild Estate

Judy Schild at Good Food & Wine Show PerthEvery wine tells a story. For Schild Estate from the Barossa Valley, their wines tell the story of their family. They are the largest independently owned winery in South Australia with two priorities; family and making darn good wine.

Thanks to my good friend Lara, I was introduced to Schild Estate at this year’s Good Food & Wine Show. I was lucky enough to try through the range with Judy Watson, Brand Ambassador (aka the story-teller) and Schild family member. From the first sip, I knew the wines were right up my alley, but it was also the stories that I fell in love with. I especially loved the story-telling labels on the bottles. I’ll delve into this more below.

Our stories are the reality of our life’ – Judy Watson

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited by Judy to their wine dinner at Coco’s Restaurant in South Perth. It was an absolutely brilliant night of great food and wine (kudos to Coco’s for an all-round great experience). I also had a chance to get to know Judy and younger brother Michael (Chief Viticulturalist/Vigneron aka minder of the vines) a little bit better. The Schild Estate story is a great one and one that I really wanted to share with you guys here on the blog.

Schild Estate Chardonnay at Coco's Restaurant

Before I settle into their story, I just want to mention that there needs to be more people like Judy in the wine industry. She has a similar philosophy as I do – don’t let anyone tell you what you like or don’t like when it comes to wine, drink what you enjoy.

The history

Judy and Michael’s grandparents – Ben & Alma Schild moved to the Barossa Valley in 1952. They had 8 children, one of those being Ed (16 at the time) who helped run the family property after Ben, unfortunately, passed away in 1956. The family heritage is German if you hadn’t already guessed that.

Ed ended up marrying Lorraine who have 4 children (and now a number of grandchildren too); Judy, Michael and their twin sisters – one of which, Leanne, is the export and logistics manager. It was interesting to sit with Judy at the dinner as I found out that prior to getting into the family wine business she was in fact a microbiologist!

The family team are also joined by CEO, Casey Mohr, and Chief Winemaker, Scott Hazeldine.

Family is everything” – Michael Schild

The wines

Schild Estate has a wide range of wines available. It was the Sparkling Shiraz which I initially fell in love with, however, it’s safe to say after the dinner at Coco’s I have a number of new favourites. In the range you’ll find:

  • Moscato
  • Frontignac
  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling
  • GMS
  • Semillon
  • Rose
  • Shiraz
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot
  • Sparkling Shiraz (read my tasting note here)
  • Grenache

It’s not only Shiraz that the Barossa Valley does well – trust me!

What really caught my eye the first time I spotted these wines, were the labels. The GMS, for instance, has three hands holding a pitchfork – these hands belong to Ed and Michael and his son – three generations. The Cabernet Sauvignon label has Michael’s ‘hairy legs’ on it, as Judy put it. And then you have the ‘Alma Schild Reserve Chardonnay’ and the ‘Ben Schild Reserve Chardonnay’ which is named after the grandparents. Every bottle has a story.

What we were amazingly lucky to try at the dinner was a range of Schild’s top end Shiraz’s. These include the 2014 PRÄMIE (pronounced ‘prim – ee – er’ and meaning ‘premium’ in German ) Special Release Shiraz which has an absolutely stunning label in my opinion – the design is meant to reflect the soil in the vineyard. Or as they put it, their ‘little piece of Barossa Dirt’. What was inside the bottle was also bloody good, I may have had just a ‘couple’ of tastes from the decanter.

We were also lucky enough to try a number of vintages from their top end Moorooroo range (the name gets easier to say the more glasses you have of it!) including 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and latest release, 2013. Picking a favourite is simply not doable – I enjoyed each and every one of them and feel very privileged I had the chance to taste them.

Schild Estate Moorooroo 2005, 2007 and 2009 ShirazSchild Estate Moorooroo 2013 Shiraz - Barossa Valley

I do have to also give a special mention to the 2014 Edgar Reserve Grenache we ended the night on. This Grenache is made from 100-year-old vines and is absolutely beautiful.

I also found out, Schild doesn’t make wine from all the grapes they grow on their 12 vineyards. They do sell off a number of their grapes to the likes of De Bortoli and a number of other wineries in the area.

Where can you taste Schild wines

Seriously, my biggest piece of advice for you today is that you need to try some of these wines! You can order online via the Schild Estate website and for those based in Perth, I also know you can find a number of the Schild wines at Your Shout Liquor on Guildford Road (very close to the Mount Lawley train station). Alongside the following Perth bottle shops:

  • Liquor Barons – Wembley Downs
  • Liquor Barons – Subiaco
  • Liquor Barons – Perth City
  • Paddington Fine Wines – Mount Hawthorn
  • Cons Liquor – City Beach
  • Swanbourne Cellars – Swanbourne
  • Bucks off Liquor Botanica – Innaloo
  • The Re Store – Leederville

And of course Coco’s have some of the Schild wines on their wine menu. It’s definitely a great spot for a lovely meal – I enjoyed every single dish we had at the dinner and I’d love to do the whole thing all over again.

There are also a number of retailers across Australia and global partners in New Zealand, Asia, North & South America and Europe that will help you get your Schild Estate fix.

If you are visiting the Barossa Valley wineries, be sure to add the Schild Estate cellar door to your list, they are located in Lyndoch. When Mr Spittoon and I finally get to SA, it’ll definitely be on our list!

Wine Dinner at Coco’s Restaurant

As previously mentioned, the dinner was insanely good. Here’s some pictures to prove it:
Schild Estate Wine Dinner at Coco's RestaurantSlow Braised Spiced Pork Belly with an Apple & Chestnut Compote Crispy Skinned Duck Breast with Pommes Chateaux, Baby Spring Vegetables & a Black Cherry Jus - Coco's Restaurant Deconstructed Beef Wellington with a Puff Pastry Disc, Wilted Spinach, Mushroom Duxelles & Thyme Jus - Coco's Restaurant Cheese - Coco's Restaurant Pecan & Salted Caramel Tarts with Valrhona Shards, Chantilly Double Cream & a Bourbon Tuile - Coco's Restaurant

So I guess what I am trying to say is, if you get the chance to try Schild Estate – please do so – your palate will thank you. And if the opportunity comes along to meet the family behind these amazing wines, take it – oh the stories you will hear!

Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...