Langhorne Creek

South Australia

Langhorne Creek With the oldest recorded Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world and families that have been making wine for five generations or more, it’s fair to say that this shouldn't be as 'unknown' of a region as it is. The odd thing about Langhorne Creek is its relative anonymity. Ask anyone about wine regions in South Australia and they will name this region well down the list if at all. Those who have heard about it will think it is only a minor wine region. Not so. It is the third largest grape growing region in South Australia. A large proportion of the grapes grown here is vinified or blended and marketed elsewhere.

This often overlooked South Australian wine region is part of the Fleurieu Peninsula Group of wine regions which also includes McLaren Vale and Currency Creek. Many of the vineyards here are irrigated by the flooding of the Bremer River. The major varieties in the region are Shiraz, Cabernet sauvignon and Chardonnay, but there are some significant plantings of less common varieties.

The area under vines has expanded rapidly over the last decade. There is also a suggestion that the area is starting to assert its identity. While there is the buzz around usually associated with a new wine region, Langhorne Creek retains a strong sense of history. Many of the growers and vignerons have family connections in the Langhorne Creek area going back well over one hundred years.

The name ‘Langhorne Creek’ acknowledges Alfred Langhorne, a cattle drover, who brought animals overland to a property known as ‘Langhorne’s Station’ during the 1840′s. The place where Alfred Langhorne traversed the Bremer River was referred to as ‘Langhorne’s Crossing’, and from this the current name Langhorne Creek evolved.

Frank Potts, travelling through the region, recognized the potential of the area and settled in 1850 on the ancient flood plain. He planted the first grapes in the district in the 1860′s at the now heritage listed ‘Bleasdale Winery’.

Langhorne Creek is quite unique, as it continues to enjoy winter flooding of the Bremer and Angas Rivers to irrigate some of its vineyards to this day. The floods emanate from the rainfall in the Mount Lofty Ranges, between Mount Barker and Callington, and also deposit rich alluvial soil and nutrients onto those vineyards within the flood plain.

Langhorne Creek receives an average winter rainfall of just 15 inches per year and flood events provide enough moisture in the rich deep soil profile of the flood plain to carry vines in these areas through the dry summer months. The majority of the vast vineyard plantings of the area use modern and efficient drip and sub-surface irrigation practices to maintain the water needs of the vines. Access to water, coupled with cooling breezes from Lake Alexandrina that reduce evening temperatures and provide mild even growing seasons, help make Langhorne Creek an ideal wine growing region.