In 1847 Prussian Lutheran, Johann Frederick August Fiedler planted some Shiraz vines near Bethany Creek in the Barossa Valley to make wine. These vines are thought to have come from the Busby collection, propagated from cuttings brought to Australia from the Hill of Hermitage in the Rhône Valley in the 1830's. Fiedler was noted for his vinicultural experiments to test the success of different grape varieties, and one journalist visiting Turkey Flat in 1851 commented that an experimental vineyard of 72 varieties had been planted to identify what were best suited to the environment. The name of the winery derives from the fact that in the early 1840's Prussian settlers perceived that large native birds visited the flats towards the lower end of the Tanunda Creek, and christened the area “Turkey Flat” as a result. These birds were in fact no turkeys - they were Ardeotis australis or Plains Bustards, rarely seen in the area now - but captured an the labels of Turkey Flat's wines. The Schulz family have been the custodians of Turkey Flat since the 1860's. It was primarily a dairy farm and a butchery, but when 4th generation Peter and Christie Schulz took over the property in 1987, they changed the focus to the cultivation of grapes and winemaking, opening the doors of the Turkey Flat winery in 1990. Turkey Flat are the guardians of some of the oldest Shiraz vines on the planet. They undertook extensive viticultural research in the vineyards to enable them to blend traditional Rhône varietals with the ancient 1847 Shiraz vines. They also have some old Grenache vines that were planted in 1920. Today Christie and her eldest son Alex carry on the legacy. They are committed to the environment, biodiversity and sustainability. They farm organically, all their rainwater being collected for use in the winery, and solar panels provide the main source of power. The gnarly old 1847 Shiraz is still productive and goes to make their glorious Ancestor wine, only made in the best years and in extremely limited quantities. The name refers to the Schulz's ancestors, but the vines themselves are classified as “Ancestor” vines by the Barossa Old Vine Charter. The distinctive script on the label was taken from the 1888 Schulz family butcher’s ledger, which was discovered when they were converting the old butchers shop to become their cellar door.
The Butchers Block wines of course honour the Schulz family's original use for this building. These are fruit-driven wines that offer excellent value for money. Turkey Flat are well known for their beautifully balanced rosé wines, which have gained rather a cult following. Turkey Flat were among the first to lead the rosé revival in the Barossa Valley, creating wines designed to show that rosés can be fine wines. The unctuous desert wine made from Pedro Ximénez is also praiseworthy. Turkey Flat's impressive portfolio of composed and meticulously crafted wines express the complexities of the Barossa's Valley's rich cultural heritage.