The Willow Vineyard
The Willows Vineyard

Our Story

Single Vineyard Barossa Wines, Barossa Valley

The Scholz's Australian story began in 1845 when 40 year-old Johann Gottfried joined his neighbours to flee the religious persecution of his Silesian homeland, and emigrate to a fertile valley on the other side of the world - the Barossa.

He settled at Light Pass, a village which enshrined the work of SA's first Surveyor - Colonel William Light. As well as founding Adelaide, Light had discovered this vital passage through the Mount Lofty Ranges to the River Murray and the Eastern States.

Like the other settlers, Johann established a mixed farm of sheep, cows, crops and fruit trees as well as a few grape vines along the alluvial banks of the North Para River. Johann had also spent most of his early career as a bone-setter in the Prussian Army and it was his healing hands which were in demand, as the early settlers had to contend with the daily bumps, breaks and bruises of their harsh environment.

His original wattle and daub cottage became the site of the Barossa's first private hospital, when one of the founding Angas fathers bestowed £500 for a perfectly mended femur in 1883. Son Wilhelm Heinrich and grandson Julius Heinrich maintained the tradition, learning the ancient crafts of bone setting and massage from their father and expanding the hospital to 30 beds.

In 1914, when World War I broke out against Germany, fourth generation Herbert Bernard left for the United States rather than be interned. Here he learnt the new science of physiotherapy at famous spas such as the Chicago Steam Baths. On his return in 1918, Herbert expanded the hospital even further and also sold a range of Scholz remedies patented by his brother Albert.

Herbert's fame grew during the 1940s, particularly during the post-War polio epidemic, when he gave many locals a new life by rejecting the traditional medical prescription of bed rest and advocating exercise instead.

The Willows VineyardHowever, his natural form of healing was becoming obsolete and Herbert's son William Herbert, known as "Bert" was forced to study medicine to continue the family tradition. Bert graduated in 1954 and practised in Victoria and at Loxton in the Riverland before returning to Angaston in the mid 1970s.

Since the late 1960s Bert had been visiting "home" on weekends, turning his attentions from the old hospital which had closed, to the family's commercial vineyard which was planted in 1936.

Unfortunately Bert's enthusiasm about grapegrowing coincided with the industry's worst downturn. In the late 1970s the "red wine boom" became the "red wine glut" and Bert sought a better price for his grapes by transferring his contract from the Kaiser Stuhl Cooperative to Saltram, where an old family friend, Peter Lehmann was chief winemaker.

Not surprisingly, Bert's son Peter took his first winemaking job with Peter Lehmann at Saltram in 1979. Here he entered a dynamic environment, working with Andrew Wigan and Charlie Melton and the Baron himself to produce signature styles of Barossa Shiraz and Cabernet, Riesling and Semillon.

In 1989 the Scholz family opened a cellar door adjacent to the century old hospital and started selling the first wines under The Willows Vineyard label.

The Scholz family have come full circle - from healing with their hands to offering the 21st centuries latest natural remedy, red wine, all the time maintaining their closeness to the soil and the traditions of the Barossa.