Schmidt Wines

Nuriootpa - Barossa Valley - Australia
Schmidt Wines
In the very heart of the Barossa Valley, between Nuriootpa, Angaston and Tanunda, Schmidt Wines is a family owned business founded on 27 acres of vineyards. The majority of the fruit is sold to two other premium producing wineries in the Valley, but a small quantity is retained for producing Schmidt Wines; grown and made into wine onsite and marketed by Schmidt Wines.

The Schmidt Wine portfolio currently includes Shiraz, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Grenache and Chardonnay.

About Schmidt Wines:
The People:
Ricky Schmidt , fifth generation descendant of Johann Joseph Schmidt who with his wife Johanne Christiane Heidrich sailed from Silesia to escape religious persecution. They arrived at Port Adelaide and travelled to the Barossa Valley with fellow Lutherans to start a new life, bringing with them vine plants as well as vegetable seedlings.

After leaving school at the age of 17, Ricky worked in the family market gardening business, growing and selling carrots and onions for the Adelaide markets. During 1988, Ricky married Geraldene McInnis, an employee in the carrot packing shed. Then, during 1989, the couple decided to leave the family business and start afresh on their own. Ricky commenced work with St Hallet wines on the outskirts of Tanunda and continued for five years, working in the cellars and making wine. It was during these five years that Ricky gained his valuable knowledge of winemaking practices.

Today Ricky manages the family winery and vineyard, along with his wife Geraldene and their three children.

Ricky and Geraldine in the barrel hall

Geraldene’s business, Barossa Clothing Co, is in the main street of Nuriootpa at 43 Murray Street. Geraldene has managed all aspects of her business since 1993, supporting the family through the establishment of the vineyard and working in the vineyard on weekends, doing the essential seasonal work.

Josh Schmidt on the forklift
Joshua Schmidt was raised amongst the vineyards, learning to drive the machinery, safely handle the tools and to understand the seasonal factors affecting life on the property. Josh is completing an apprenticeship in Metal Fabrication He also does seasonal work in the Schmidt Wines vineyard and for other vignerons. Josh grows many of the vegetables for the family dinner table.

Ben Schmidt
Ben Schmidt is completing a school based apprenticeship in the food industry. He is developing an awareness of regional foods and their preparation and presentation. Ben is also a very capable worker in the vineyard.

Emily Schmidt

Emily Schmidt is passionate about food and works in the food industry as well as attending high school. Emily has experimented with making chutneys from the produce grown by Josh. Em is proficient at preparing the family meals. Emily’s long term goal is to teach primary school children.

The Vineyard:
The present vineyard was originally market gardening land, which was purchased by Ricky and Geraldene from Ricky’s parents, during 1997.

The first Shiraz vines were planted out to eight acres of soft loam soils in the very heart of the Barossa Valley during 1998.

The Spring of 1998 saw eight acres of Shiraz and eight acres of Cabernet planted. The remaining land was planted with Grenache and Chardonnay in 2002.
Amongst the vines
2004 Disaster Struck! The winery buying all the family's grapes was sold to an investor on the stock market. The new investors decided not to buy the Cabernet which was then half of the vineyard’s income. Not able to sell the fruit elsewhere, the Schmidt’s made the decision to make their own wine and so "Schmidt Wines" was born. A producer’s license was obtained and good fortune saw a major SA liquor retailer sell the Rose through the store's 20 cellars across the state.

Making the Wines:
Ricky makes the red wines himself in half ton open fermenter vessels. During the ten day fermentation period the wine is plunged by hand three to four times per day to push the skins, which float to the surface, back into the must for colour. After fermenting, the wine is hand bucketed into a small basket press and then transferred to wine barrels to age. This is the traditional method.

Ricky aims to make wines which reflect the environment where they are grown; all Schmidt Wines are produced entirely from grapes grown in the Schmidt vineyards.

Hand crafted; pleasurable. With a bottle always nearby and a ready supply of tasting glasses, Ricky and Geraldene ensure that friends frequently have the opportunity to taste at their leisure.

Amongst the Vines:
When the Schmidt Family are working amongst the vines, they are typically accompanied by their winery dogs, Harry and Rex. It is not unusual for the Schmidt Family cats, Alvin and Winston, to wander amongst the vines, providing company for Ricky when he is working alone.