By Pip Strickland
September 17, 2020 | 5 minute read
Nestled between the Adelaide Hills and Lake Alexandrina on the sun-drenched Fleurieu Peninsula, Langhorne Creek is one of South Australia’s lesser-known but oldest wine regions. It’s significantly cooler in temperature than McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley due to the “Lake Doctor”, a refreshing wind that blows from the Southern Ocean across the 600-square-kilometre lake waters. Not only does this moderate the region’s summer heat but it also reduces winter frosts so the vines can thrive.
It’s under these conditions (and with the help of Langhorne Creek’s fertile soils) that the region’s renowned Cabernet Sauvignon is grown, alongside full-bodied Shiraz and Malbec. Mediterranean varieties such as Montepulciano, Verdelho and Tempranillo are also cultivated here, resulting in a diversity of wines that can be sampled at family-owned wineries and historic cellar doors.
In this guide, I introduce you to some of the wineries, places to eat and experiences not to miss when visiting the region.
With more than 150 years of winemaking under their belt, the Potts are the multi-generational family behind Bleasdale. They're credited with founding the Langhorne Creek Wine Region, making their historic cellar door an essential stop.
Aside tasting their crips whites and traditional fortifieds, a highlight of any visit is seeing the 3.5-tonne red gum lever press, which was used for pressing grapes from the late 19th century until 1962.
Location: 1640 Langhorne Creek Road, Langhorne Creek.
Set within a beautifully renovated 1866 stone barn, Bremerton’s cellar door offers wine tasting, regionally-inspired food platters and art exhibitions all in one place. It’s headed by the Willson sisters who have also put their hand to creating a small batch gin in honour of their father’s 70th birthday.
Location: 14 Kent Town Road, Langhorne Creek.
Offering breathtaking views across the family vineyard, Lake Breeze is one of the most awarded boutique wineries in the country. It combines a charming cellar door with a contemporary dining area, making it an ideal destination for a long lunch accompanied by a glass (or few) of their wine. Keep an eye out for the live music events that are occasionally held on their sprawling lawns beneath the towering gum trees.
Location: 319 Step Rd, Langhorne Creek.
Housing four award-winning Langhorne Creek boutique wines, the Winehouse is an ideal destination if you’re short on time. You can sample a diversity of wines from Ben Potts, John’s Blend by John Glaetzer, Gipsie Jack and Heartland, as well as craft beers from the team at Meechi Brewing (Langhorne Creek’s first craft beer label).
Their kitchen serves up seasonal produce such as Chargrilled Kangaroo Salad and Meechi Beer Battered Garfish, which can be enjoyed in the airy dining room or on the alfresco terrace.
Bec and Lucy Willson from Bremerton
Places to eat
Aside from its cellar door where wines grown in the surrounding vineyards are showcased, Angas Plains Estate Wines also dishes up rustic food from Thursday to Monday. You can settle in at the alfresco dining area to graze on their tapas plates or feast on creatively-inspired pizzas while soaking up the stunning views.
Location: 317 Angas Plains Rd, Langhorne Creek.
If you’re after a country pub atmosphere, head to the historic Bridge Hotel, which was established back in 1850. It still offers warm hospitality and generously-sized meals, accompanied by open fireplaces in the winter months or served outdoors on inviting summer evenings. Aside from beer on tap, there’s a wide choice of Langhorne Creek wines available by the glass and a kids menu if you’re travelling with young ones in tow.
Location: 70 Bridge Road Langhorne Creek.
This family-owned and operated restaurant nestles within lush tropical gardens, which stand in stark contrast to the surrounding farmland of the Angas Plains. Their weekend breakfast menu includes favourites such as the Big Brekky and Salmon Eggs Benedict while Hahndorf Venison, Crumbed Barramundi and Slow-Cooked Red Wine Lamb Shank are a feature of the lunch and dinner menus.
Location: 726 Langhorne Creek Road Belvidere.
Things to do nearby
Founded in 1839, Strathalbyn is one of South Australia’s most attractive towns and serves as the gateway to the Langhorne Creek Wine Region. Its village-like centre is home to charming cafes and boutique stores, all of which occupy the town’s heritage buildings.
Aside from strolling along the banks of the River Angas as it winds its way through Strathalbyn, allow enough time to rummage in the antique stores for which the town is famed.
Perched on the edge of the Langhorne Creek Wine Region, Milang is a historic settlement that was once the largest inland port in South Australia. It’s now a sleepy village on the western shore of Lake Alexandrina and is a popular getaway spot for sailing, windsurfing and fishing.
Don’t miss a visit to the Port Milang Historic Railway Museum (which features one of only seven public train driving simulators in the world) and pack the binoculars for a spot of birdwatching from the lakeshore.
Just a stone’s throw from Langhorne Creek is Monarto Zoo, one of the largest open-range zoos in the world. It sprawls across more than 1,500 hectares that have been divided into five habitat exhibits, including the Asian steppes and the African plains.
In addition to getting up close to African lions, black rhinoceros and giraffes, you can also see lesser-known species such as scimitar-horned oryx, nyalas and African crested porcupines. The zoo also plays a major role in breeding rare and endangered animals, including Tasmanian devils, greater bilbies and Przewalski’s horses.
Location: Old Princes Highway, Monarto South.
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