Bay of Shoals celebrated the opening of its Cellar Door and Winery on Easter Saturday 2006. It was the next step in a labour of love for proprietor John Willoughby who bought the land in 1992, planted vines in 1993 and had his first vintage in 1998. But it is by no means his last.
The winery opened in 2007 which allowed Bay of Shoals to do its own crushing and wine making with storage on site. The cellar door fit out was designed by artist Bernie Walsh, who also designed the distinctive pelican labels, and personally painted a reproduction antique map on the floor.
In 2018, completed our 11th vintage on site – producing an array of varietals ranging from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Gris to Rose to Shiraz and Pinot Noir. Our focus is on Kangaroo Island, our cellar door is open daily from 11am to 5pm. Ensure you come for a visit and memorable tasting experience.
Bay of Shoals 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 27 July 1836. 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.
His 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 as a ferry 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 sailed around the world. He recently completely replaced all the rope rigging. The walls of the cellar door are decorated with old timber spars of oregon and spruce and glass buoys. Outdoors are slipping cradles, windlasses and derricks, ketch masts and booms from the historic Searles boatyard which sadly was demolished in 2010.
Bay of Shoals celebrated the opening of its Cellar Door and Winery on Easter Saturday 2006. The winery commenced operation with the 2007 vintage and there are future plans for a gallery cafe and 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 – contact cellar door staff for more information.
History of the label and Artist Bernie Walsh partnership
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 on the beach below the vineyard. At 5pm daily, it was a major tourist attraction with a huge number of overseas tourists. The new enclosed boat launching ramp is his legacy, guarded by dozens of watchful pelicans.
Bernie Walsh was approached by owner John Willoughby to create a wine label encapsulating the pelican.
Bernie originally hailed from the Mornington Peninsula, and his 1995 art print series made him Australia’s top selling artist, with sales to 57 countries. Bernie paints with an air brush and highlights with soft pencils, and his trademark is to extend part of the subject material over the boundary of the painting.
Our vineyard is located on the property at Bay of Shoals, just north of Kingscote, Kangaroo Island.
In 1992 we put in a nursery bed of cuttings and the resultant rootlings were planted in 1993. Our first harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon was in 1998, Chardonnay followed in 1999, Shiraz in 2000, Riesling in 2001 and Sauvignon Blanc in 2004.
More recently we have planted Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Savagnin which were harvested for the first time in 2012.
The majority of our vines are now on rootstock to improve drought resistance, saline tolerance and provide us protection against phylloxera.
We have doubled the density of our plantings to reflect the European style, planting the vines one metre apart, with the expectation that this will result in greater consistency and quality of the wines. The climate is Mediterranean, modified by our coastal location, giving a true maritime environment which leads to a slower ripening period with enhanced flavours and protects against extremes of temperature. To date, we have never experienced a frost.
Our beach block Shiraz cuttings were taken from Penfolds Magill Estate vineyard and were sailed to the Island in Enchantress into the teeth of a sou’westerly gale.
Our Riesling vines are 30m from waters-edge and thought to be the closest to the sea of anywhere in the world.
Bay of Shoals sells its wines almost entirely on Kangaroo Island, primarily through the cellar door outlet and to local hotels and accommodation houses. Here is a list of where you can purchase our wines. Alternatively, place an order online and we will post it to you (link to online shop)
Kangaroo Island Outlets:
- Aurora Ozone Hotel
- Queenscliffe Family Hotel
- Seaside Inn
- KI Lodge
- Penneshaw Hotel
- KI Seafront
- Seal Bay Cottages
- Vivonne Bay Lodge
- Flinders Chase Café
- Rockpool Cafe
- Icon Store, Adelaide Airport
- KI Stall (Central Markets)
- PALS Liquor
- The Highway
- Blue Cactus
- Goodwood Cellars
Melbourne & Victoria Outlets:
- Blairgowrie Food & Liquor Barn