About Us › History


The Bay of Shoals Winery is located on Reeves farm which was part of the first land subdivision shown in South Australia.

South Australia's settlement began at Reeves Point on 27th July 1836. We have recently celebrated the 175th Anniversary. Augustus Reeves was the pioneer who farmed and built his home on the saddle of the hill overlooking the Bay of Shoals. This homestead is now heritage listed and commonly known as Reeves Cottage.



Owner John Willoughby has a passion for sailing, handed down from his father who sailed on the "Nerida" with winemaker Tom Hardy in the 1930s. "Nerida" won the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in 1950 and was the only South Australian boat to have accomplished this honour for the next 50 years.

John Willoughby and the yacht "Enchantress" won the Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster yacht race in 2010 and was the first South Australian yacht to achieve this since Kangaroo Island’s Jamie Cowell achieved this feat in 1983 in his yacht "Morning Hustler".

Visitors to Bay of Shoals will find endless nautical delights. John has assembled an impressive array of old traditional wooden boats built with planks and copper nails and caulking. There are charts from the "Nerida" dating back to surveys from 1874, and the chronometer from the SS "Karatta" which served Kangaroo Island from 1910 to 1960. There is an octant from Captain Cook’s era, ropes and sailing gear from the Bark "Endeavour" replica which son Ben Willoughby has sailed around the world and who recently completely replaced all the rope rigging. The walls of the cellar door are decorated with old timber spars of oregon and spruce timbers and glass buoys. Outdoors we also have slipping cradles, windlasses and derricks, ketch masts and booms from the historic Searles boatyard which sadly was demolished in 2010.



Bay of Shoals Wines celebrated the opening of its Cellar Door & Winery on Easter Saturday 2006. The winery commenced operation with the 2007 vintage and there are future plans for a gallery cafe and maybe a marina, complete with a foreshore museum of old boats for the sailors visiting Kangaroo Island.

Discounts and showers are available to Sailors who arrive by yacht.

The history of our label

We chose the distinctive pelican label to honour Councillor Milton Turner who was born on Reeves Farm. Milton fed the pelicans every day for 15 years at 5 p.m. on the beach below the vineyard. It was a major tourist attraction attracting a huge number of overseas tourists to Bay of Shoals. The new enclosed boat launching ramp is his legacy, guarded by dozens of watchful pelicans. 


A history letter from John Willoughby…….. Sheltered Harbour for sailors

This original settlement of South Australia was at a place which had all the things sailors wanted. There were seals and whales for fur, meat and oil and a short row across the Bay of Shoals to nearby salt pans gave them salt for preserving food in the days before the invention of refrigeration.

There was however a serious shortage of fresh water. How amazed would the pioneers be that these days people pay large amounts of money just to look at, rather than kill, seals and whales? The point of settlement is now named after Reeves who was the original post master for Kangaroo Island. Reeves farm extended from the point of settlement along the shores of the Bay of Shoals. His Heritage listed homestead built in the 1850’s looks across to Reeves Point. From Reeves Cottage the view to Reeves Point is across the vines and the boat ramp. This is one of the few places in the world where you can sail to the winery, row ashore and walk a short distance up to the cellar door.