Our Winemaking Community
Mick’s family settled in the Barossa in the 1850’s fleeing a troubled Silesia. Mick has worked at Peter Lehmann Wines since he left Saltram with Peter Lehmann, Andrew Wigan, Charlie Melton and Peter Scholz to help build the original Lehmann winery.
Working on the Weighbridge alongside Peter, he knows the families of the early settlers well and is now seeing the third and fourth generations of the grape growing families delivering their grapes to Peter Lehmann.
“The Weighbridge represents the camaraderie and friendships that exist between Peter Lehmann Wines and the growers. The winery was Peter’s domain, his kingdom and was and still is the common bond of the Barossa. So much has changed over the years but what’s stayed the same is the solidarity and togetherness we all strive for, because we know it makes us stronger.”
John Shobbrook ‘Shobby’ had a career in banking and was the Lehmann’s bank manager until he retired. Shobby knew 80% of the growers because they were also his customers at the bank, so he was the obvious choice when Peter retired from the Weighbridge in 2002. ‘Shobby’ has been working there ever since.
“The Peter Lehmann Weighbridge has always been a hub of the Barossa winemaking community. In the early days as most of the fruit was hand-picked, a glass of wine at the Weighbridge was a regular event! Fridays were the highlight of the working week - wine being poured, mettwurst shared, people laughing and chatting.
Times have of course changed as the industry has become modernised but what’s stayed the same is the character of the people and the spirit of the community. We are seeing the next generation of growers who have taken over from their parents; the Gropes, Hahns, Zander, Rohrlachs and Boehms. They are still producing the same high quality fruit and it is exciting to see what they will achieve.”
Scott is a third generation grape grower. His father, Wayne, was with Peter Lehmann right from the very start in 1979. As a youngster Scott would hop into the truck and join his dad bringing the grapes to the winery – although children aren’t allowed in the winery any more.
He remembers the Weighbridge was the gathering place at vintage. When everything was really busy, it was a chance to catch up and hear what was going on. Scott remembers Peter Lehmann as a really jovial character, always joking with the growers; it was a fun place to be. Scott has always enjoyed being outside and the diversity of agriculture, so moving into the family business was a natural path.
“Agriculture is a gamble from year to year, the weather of course and the trends of the market, but working with the Peter Lehmann viticulturists on specific objectives for different blocks to deliver on what they’re trying to achieve is bringing great results. There’s much more emphasis on the long term health and sustainability of our vineyards, understanding soil health and water management, balancing the vines by reducing yields and being more efficient with production but not at the cost of quality.”
Scott’s five year old son Jack loves the trucks and helping his dad in the vineyard so there may be another generation to come!
When fifth generation Peter Scholz was looking for work experience during his winemaking studies at Roseworthy in 1980, it was Peter Lehmann who offered him a job “working the Potter fermenters” at his brand new winery.
In 1982 Peter Lehmann offered “Scholzy” the Assistant Winemaker role at Peter Lehmann Wines, supporting Andrew Wigan and Charlie Melton, a relationship that has lasted for more than 35 years.
Even after starting his own label in 1987 (with PL’s blessing and encouragement) Scholzy stayed on until 1999. He then stepped down from full time winemaking at Peter Lehmann Wines to focus on his own business but continues to return as vintage winemaker consulting and supporting young guns such as Tim Dolan, Brett Smith and Nigel Westblade.
“Long vintage nights, stuck ferments, heatwave rushes, floods…even a hurricane that swept away the winery’s stainless steel tanks rolling them towards the Para River like tin cans – it’s all part of our history. Today we are making some of the best wines we have ever made at Peter Lehmann’s, we have outstanding fruit and winemaking facilities and there is a real sense of pride here.”
Angela’s family connection to Peter Lehmann begins with her father, Wes Schilling, who worked for an excavation company and was heavily involved with building the Peter Lehmann winery. Angela has fond memories of playing amongst the tanks whilst her father attended one of Peter Lehmann’s famous BBQ’s.
The connection continued when Angela married Ralph Schrapel. Ralph’s father and Peter Lehmann were close friends for over 50 years and the Schrapel family have been a key fruit supplier since the winery’s very first vintage.
The Schrapel family vineyard is in the Ebenezer district located in the Northern most reaches of the Barossa. This fruit often is selected for the award winning Stonewell Shiraz, and a small patch of the vineyard with Shiraz vines planted by Ralph’s great-great-great grandfather in 1885, makes the highly regarded Very Special Vineyard 1885 wine.
The Schrapel’s strong work ethic, passion and dedication has been passed down through the generations, with the family still very involved in the Peter Lehmann winery. Angela works full time in the Cellar and can be found in the family vineyard on weekends. Her daughter Gemma has worked alongside her as a cellar hand for the last 2 vintages while her son, Sean, works on the farm with his father Ralf, and the help of the family’s cute Labrador Turbo.