Langhorne Creek wineries to try

By Halliday Promotion

31 Aug, 2023

Tucked away on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is Langhorne Creek. The region is famed for its red wines, with cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, malbec and petit verdot the heroes.

The Langhorne Creek wine region is Australia's hidden gem. Just a one-hour drive from Adelaide, the region has a rich viticulture and winemaking history that dates back to 1850, when Frank Potts planted just 12 hectares of vineyards. This tight-knit winemaking community produces stellar cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, malbec and petit verdot. Here are four Langhorne Creek wineries you need to know. 

Bleasdale Vineyards

Bleasdale cellar door

Winemaker Matt Laube says: Bleasdale, the spiritual home of Langhorne Creek, was founded in 1850 by the extraordinary Frank Potts – one of the pioneers of the Australian wine industry – making it the oldest winery in Langhorne Creek and among the oldest in Australia. In the legacy of Frank Potts and the ongoing pursuit of quality, Bleasdale has been awarded over 70 National Trophies since 2010.

H. What do you love about making wine in Langhorne Creek?
ML. The cool evening breezes from the lake and diversity in soil types bring complexity, freshness, depth and balance to the blending table. These optimal growing conditions give us the ability to harvest with low sugar accumulation and plenty of flavour and tannin. Langhorne Creek wine offers spicy, bright aromatics, generous mid palate, with soft, ample tannins and fine acidity.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
ML. With an attentive yet minimal approach. We adopt strategies in the winery to maintain fruit freshness and varietal integrity. Each parcel has its own defined character and individuality based on micro-climate and soil type of the vineyards they have come from. We aim and evolve to produce modern classics with respect for tradition and an eye for the future. 

Wine to try

2017 Frank Potts

2021 Bleasdale Vineyards Frank Potts

This wine is layered and complex with red berry and darker fruit aromas. These characters continue onto the palate, with fruit layers supported by fine oak tannin and lively berry persistence.

Best enjoyed: Serve the 2021 Frank Potts at between 15–18 degrees, alongside a roasted lamb shoulder with garlic, oregano, rosemary and baby potatoes.

RRP $39 | Drink to 2041 |

Lake Breeze Wines

Lake Breeze

Winemaker Greg Follett says: Our family has been custodians of this unique piece of South Australia since the 1850s. We've been growing grapes for over 130 years and making outstanding wine since 1987. The maritime climate of Langhorne Creek, with its cooling ‘Lake Breezes’ provide ideal conditions for producing exceptional cabernet sauvignon. Other regional heroes are undoubtedly shiraz and malbec. We were honoured to be named Best Value Winery of the Year at the 2022 Halliday Awards and shortlisted for Winemaker of the Year at the 2023 Awards.

H. What do you love about making wine in Langhorne Creek?
GF. We are part of a tight-knit, rural community where we get to live on the vineyard but still can be in the heart of Adelaide within an hour. We are lucky to have the best of both worlds! Climatically we are blessed in Langhorne Creek, with mild dry conditions nearly every vintage, which makes my winemaking decisions a breeze.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
GF. I take a very hands-on approach in the winery. Only myself and Chad, the cellar hand, are involved for most of the year (with an extra family member or two called upon during vintage). I have access to some brilliant fruit from old vines, am all about low input in the winery, and enjoy having plenty of blending options. I try to create wines that speak of place, and that are bright and drinkable but also offer the chance for extended life in the cellar. 

Wine to try

2020 Arthur’s Reserve

2020 Lake Breeze Arthur’s Reserve

This stylish wine is a tribute to Arthur Follett, who planted the first vines on the family property in the 1880s. A blend of 90/7/3% of cabernet sauvignon/malbec/petit verdot, this wine is truly hand-crafted from the vineyard through to the finished product. The grapes were carefully selected from 40 to 50 year old vines from our family vineyard on the famous Langhorne Creek flood plain. The wine shows classic blackcurrant aromas with violets, subtle mint and savoury characters. The palate has great depth and silkiness and shows wonderful intensity and length of flavour. 

Best enjoyed: Pair the 2020 with a pink, lamb rump roast.

RRP $50 | Drink to 2040 |


Metala wine bottles

Winemaker Jim Urlwin says: Metala wines founder, William Formby, arrived in South Australia from the United Kingdom in 1839. In 1882 he purchased the now historic Metala in Langhorne Creek and in 1891 planted the first shiraz and what are now the oldest family-owned cabernet sauvignon vines in the world on the estate. 

After winning the inaugural Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1962, Metala grew in popularity and from the late 1970s was under the ownership of various holdings. After a 20-year long battle, in 2022 fifth generation family member Guy Adams returned Metala to Langhorne Creek and the family legacy.

H. What do you love about making wine in Langhorne Creek?
JU. Langhorne Creek is a pretty unique wine region – the climate is influenced by both its proximity to Lake Alexandrina and also its deep alluvial soils, which are nutrient rich, washed down and deposited by the Bremer River over time. Lake Alexandrina provides cooling winds that allow the fruit to ripen and develop slowly. The deep alluvial soils give the wines great richness and texture. I find that wines from Langhorne Creek have a rich mid-palate, supple tannins and a longevity that is quite astonishing. I am frequently amazed by the freshness of wines with 20 years or more of age.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
JU. Metala is a special place. My goal is to craft wines that show the true character of the vineyard and its unique flavours. I’m looking for varietal character, layers of flavour and freshness in our wines. To do this, I’m mindful of over-ripeness when harvesting and shortening the length of time in oak. Let the fruit shine through.

Wine to try

2021 Metala Semper Fidelis

2021 Metala Semper Fidelis

Dark but vibrant and bright magenta. The nose has a soft cocoa/mocha character with blackberries, cassis and dark fruits. Compote of berries, with cedar and nutmeg. A touch of mint and eucalypt add complexity and regional typicity. The palate is medium-bodied and elegant. Shiraz fruit upfront, blackberries, red currant and plums with earthy spices. Ample, yet fine, elegant cabernet tannins provide good structure and length and imply longevity. Elegant and approachable in its youth, this wine will continue to develop over time. It is with time that the true character of these old vines will reveal their true beauty.

Best enjoyed: Semper Fidelis is best served at room temperature and out of a regular syrah/shiraz red wine glass. It's best paired with grilled rib-eye steak with red wine reduction, braised lamb shanks with rosemary, or with mushroom risotto with truffle oil. 

RRP $250 | Drink to 2071 |


Watkins vineyard

Head winemaker Sam Watkins says: We (the Watkins family) entered the wine industry in 1997 when my parents, David and Ros Watkins, planted their first vineyard in South Australia. In 2019, there was an opportunity to start selling the premium wine produced from these vineyards directly to consumers, which saw the start of the Watkins label. 

Three busy years on we have a bustling cellar door in Chandlers Hill, many wine show medals and trophies, and have created the Watkins Wine Club. I am very excited to see what the future holds for the Watkins wine brand!

H. What do you love about making wine in Langhorne Creek?
SW. Langhorne Creek boasts a unique blend of climatic advantages for growing wine. Daytime warmth aids ripening, while nightly lake-influenced cooling preserves acidity. The rain shadow effect ensures low disease pressure, supporting organic practices and prolonged fruit hanging. Coupled with its authentic close-knit community, and proximity to Adelaide, Langhorne Creek's alignment of qualities are truly unique. 

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
SW. After decades of experience working with the same vineyard site, I have learnt what the vineyard requires to nurture the wine's natural expression. My focus is on unlocking the optimal expression of variety and I prioritise fruit purity to achieve a balance in flavours, palate and weight. The resultant Watkins wines are delicious, fresh and easy drinking. As the next generation, I certainly look forward to continuing on this path of creating modern, juicy styles of wine from this premium wine region. 

Wine to try 

Watkins 2022 Chilled Light Red

2022 Watkins Chilled Light Red

A grenache and sangiovese blend, with their powers combined, this drop shows beguiling flavours of raspberries, subtle rhubarb, rose petals and green olives. A beautiful acid line holds the structure of this wine and when chilled making it the perfect summer drink. Bright and vibrant ruby in the glass, the colour alone will give you the warm and fuzzies. 

Best enjoyed: Pair the 2022 with strong flavours such as trout, gruyere, duck or Chinese five spice and serve at 12 degrees.

RRP $26 | Drink now |