Langhorne Creek

South Australia

About

The quiet country expanse of Langhorne Creek, southeast of Adelaide, is a hidden regional gem producing an impressive range of wines that are ready to enjoy now and also ideal contenders for the cellar.

Visitors can expect to find flourishing wine varieties thriving in the maritime climate of the region, where boutique wine tourism is lifting the profile of its viticultural scene. As part of the Fleurieu Peninsula, the region offers a host of activities as well as must-do cellar door tastings. Producers have been growing and making wine here for generations.

Red varieties excel here, with cabernet sauvignon one of its key heroes – think soft, generous and highly approachable wines. The terroir also cultivates superb shiraz and malbec in particular, with a number of Mediterranean varieties also shining.

A tour of Langhorne Creek isn’t complete without seeing Lake Alexandrina or sampling the region’s incredible produce. Just an hour’s drive outside of Adelaide, this close-knit country town is one of our finest, but most unassuming of wine regions.


James Halliday on Langhorne Creek


Alfred Langhorne left Sydney in 1841 with a mob of cattle and drove them all the way to the flood plain of the Bremer River. He crossed the river, and decided far was far enough, squatting on the fertile ground and giving his name to Langhorne’s Crossing. When a bridge was built it was likewise named after him, and the region became known as Langhorne’s Creek.

Frank Potts had arrived in South Australia even earlier (in 1836), and when the government subdivided the area in 1850, he acquired 130 hectares, reputedly attracted by the fertile soils and vast red gums. Ten years later he planted a little over 12 hectares of Shiraz and Verdelho on either side of the Bremer River, constructing a unique weir and channel system by which he was able to divert the river during winter, flood irrigating (to a depth of several feet) the vineyard and providing the subsoil with sufficient moisture to last through the entire growing season.

Five generations later the Potts family still presides over Bleasdale, but Langhorne Creek is a different place these days. The enduring link with the past is the Stonyfell Vineyard, established in 1890 by Arthur Formby, but which soon passed into the ownership of Ronald Martin of Stonyfell, and hence into that of Saltram. The individually numbered and strikingly labelled bottles of Stonyfell Metala Cabernet Shiraz remain one of the most immediately recognisable of all Australian wine labels.

Another label, less enduring, was that of Lindemans Oeillade Shiraz Bin 426, introduced in the 1960s. Another name for Cinsaut in Australia, the Oeillade Shiraz was significant as a forerunner for the arrival en masse (initially as grape purchasers) of major South Australian wine companies. Wolf Blass discovered the merits of Langhorne Creek early in the piece; not only did it play a major role in the building of his large personal empire, but also gave rise to his famous observation that only a fool would bother investing in Coonawarra – an area which, in his view, could not produce decent wine.

Facts

Wineries 23
Tasting Notes 1120

Geographic

Latitude 35°15’S
Altitude 30 m
Heat Degree Days 1520
Growing Season Rainfall 140 mm
Mean January Temp 19.9°C
Harvest Late February to late April