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Wine regions - Langhorne Creek

Langhorne Creek   South Australia

Langhorne Creek is a little known region with major importance, especially for the production of red wine. Fragrant Cabernet Sauvignon with its minty overtones is the most significant product of the region.

Flooding at Bleasdale Winery

Natural flooding of vineyards at Bleasdale Winery

Langhorne Creek Region, within the Fleurieu Zone is just south of Adelaide. Lake Alexandria marks its southern edge and the vineyards extend 40 km north to the township of Langhorne Creek.

The region features Lake Alexandria, Australia's largest permanent freshwater lake and a natural flood plain, the soil of which is fine, fertile and deep, having been deposited by the Bremer and Angus rivers over aeons, thus making it a very good region for horticultural production in general.

In the past decade vineyard plantings have increased significantly on ground above the flood plain. These vineyards use drip and sub-surface irrigation, playing a major role in the region's water and environmental management system. The vineyards within the flood plain continue to utilise natural floodwaters through a controlled system of flood gates. These waters are an important source of nutrients.

The climate is characterised by low winter-dominant rainfall and, due to the cooling breezes from the lake, moderate daytime temperatures during the growing season. This feature gives Langhorne Creek recognition as an ideal viticultural area.

Viticulture dates from the 1850s when Frank Potts established Bleasdale the region's only winery to stay in continuous production. The region was kicked started again by Wolf Blass and Lindemans and over the past ten years a number of big players have established vineyards there.

The boutique wineries in the region are also putting Langhorne Creek on the international wine map. Casa Freshci with its premimum red blends, Cabernet Sauvignon from Bremerton, and Shiraz from Lake Breeze and Brothers in Arms. They are just four of the stars from a growing constellation that includes Raydon Estate, Oddfellows, Angas Plains, Cleggett and the organic wine producer Temple Bruer.

Key grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Verdelho. In recent years, Sangiovese and Grenache have strongly featured in the region's wines

Langhorne Creek is also the home of a rare mutation of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cleggett Wines has planted a few hectares of the white grape (Shalistin) and bronze grape (Malian). These are rare sports (vines) which make the novelty white and light red styles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

For the wine enthusiast there are cellars doors, some excellent eateries and a number of events held annually including, Jazz on the Bremer in April; Winemakers Showcase in May; Winemakers Art Exhibition in September and Vigneron's Cup Race Day in November. Other attractions include sailing and birdwatching.

Harvest time: late March to late April

Vintage Report 2013

What's that saying? Early Easter, early vintage.

The 2013 Langhorne Creek vintage kicked off in the 1st week of February and progressed at a fast and furious pace leaving only a small amount of late harvest varieties by the end of March.

The season began with excellent soil moisture profiles across the district thanks to good winter and early spring rains which fortunately supported vines through a warm and dry later spring and summer.

It has been a year of very low disease pressure for Langhorne Creek although unusually high numbers of vine moth were noted during spring which then reduced by early December leaving no significant impact.

The growing period presented a minor frost event in September and a cool early flowering period. Reduced and/or variable fruit set in early flowering blocks impacted yields particularly for early Cabernet Sauvignon. Later flowering blocks have produced average yields across varieties. Warm nights into February and March led to rapid ripening and flavor development in all red varieties.

A dry end to the season resulted in a compressed vintage with harvesting maintained at a steady rate.

While demand for Chardonnay remains low across the industry, all other varieties continue to be sought after and are well supplied from Langhorne Creek.

A conservative regional estimate of between 45,000 and 48,000 tonnes is anticipated from the Langhorne Creek 2013 vintage.

It may have been a frantic vintage with some lighter crops but the fruit has been well received by wineries. White varieties have performed well and we can expect some outstanding reds amongst the Cabernet, Shiraz, and though in lower amounts than desired, excellent Malbec.

Another vintage to look forward to for wine lovers.


Jazz on the Bremer

Jazz + wine + food = fun amongst the gums
along the banks of the Bremer River.
Langhorne Creek Wine Industry Council

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