The growing and ripening season in Langhorne Creek is heavily influenced by the cooling maritime influence we receive from the breezes which come across Lake Alexandrina from the Southern Ocean.
While we are only 40km across the Fleurieu Peninsula from McLaren Vale, our growing conditions are considerably different. Langhorne Creek is on the southern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges which run from the tip of the Fleurieu right up the Flinders Ranges in the north of the state. McLaren Vale is on the northern side and is effectively blocked from the heavy maritime influences, even though they are on the coast, by these Ranges and also Kangaroo Island.
During the ripening period Langhorne Creek enjoys lovely warm temperatures during the day but then, at around 4pm the Lake Breeze kicks in, like an air conditioner being switched on. We can see the temperature drop from 35 to 18 degrees within an hour.
This has a number of really important impacts on the fruit and vines.
As the vines get the opportunity to recover from the heat most days, they will tend to go on physiologically ripening the fruit for longer. The cooler evenings also help to maintain nice bright acidity in the fruit too. Our vineyards tend to enjoy a gentle ripening curve and the vines have the time to ripen the skins and the seeds of the grapes properly as a result. It is in the skins and seeds where the natural tannin structures for the wines develop. The fruit also has time to develop the secondary fruit characters which give body to the wines. This is why Langhorne Creek wines tend to be very approachable and soft while still having body and texture. In warmer regions the vines will become stressed sooner and eventually shut down. Their subsequent ripening is more about the berries dehydrating and concentrating their sugars, rather than developing truly fruit ripened characters.
Langhorne Creek Location & Terroir
Located less than an hour drive from Adelaide on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, Langhorne Creek is a picturesque, ancient gum studded region with an expanse of vineyards and farming and an intimate country town. You can discover our region and home in the comfort of your own home through the enjoyment of our wines.
Regarded as one of the best-kept secrets in Australian Viticulture, Langhorne Creek is one of Australia's oldest and most significant wine regions. The area was founded on the broad flood plain influenced by the local Bremer and Angas Rivers and dominated by magnificent River Red Gums.
Alfred Langhorne, a cattle drover, brought animals overland to a property known as Langhorne Station during the 1840s. 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.
The vineyards of the Langhorne Creek Region total approximately 6,500 hectares, making it Australia's largest cool Climate premium wine grape growing region.
For over 100 years Langhorne Creek has been the ‘workhorse’ of the industry renowned for consistently supplying quality fruit to many leading labels. In the past few years "The Creek" has emerged as an incredibly strong premium wine producing region in it’s own right - there are now a number of smart wineries making some amazing wines. The blood that flows through the veins here is red. Strong in full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, this is red wine country!
The history of the flood plains adds to the quality of the fruit grown in this region. When the Bremer and Angas rivers flood rich river silt is deposited onto the vineyards enriching the sandy alluvial soil. At Brothers in Arms our wine is produced with state of the art technology but remains linked to the natural attributes the region offers. Brothers in Arms showcases the essence of Langhorne Creek where natural processes are melded with innovation.
The Langhorne Creek region was selected because of the flooding of the rivers. This natural aspect of the region has made "The Creek" the envy of many a grape grower. The soil and climate provide excellent conditions for great vines and in turn, great wines. These vineyards take full advantage of the Bremer and Angas River floods. Nutrient rich river silt washes into the alluvial sandy loam each flood. Cool and moderate winters with cold crisp mornings and warm afternoons nurture the fruit into maturity and the pre-vintage days of summer bring on the sugars and deliver sensational fruit. With excellent fruit being the secret to great wine, the soil and climate play an important role in the process. Although like most other places we could do with more rain, the region delivers quality wine year after year!
Sustainability – The Green Balance
As a family from a farming background we have always had a strong belief in our responsibility as caretakers of our environment. Stewards of our own property and involved in our wider environment and community as we all face significant changes in the years ahead for the impact of climate change.
The Metala Vineyard has been proactive in adopting and trialling new and more environmentally sensitive farming practices for many years to encourage the integrity of our soils. Our broad acre cropping soils are quite light so we direct seed with minimal tillage. In the vineyard we crop our mid rows during winter months with legumes and cereals, eventuating as a mulch mat to add organic matter, suppress weeds and retain precious water. Where possible we combine vineyard activities to reduce passes and soil compaction and have been using computer-controlled state-of-the-art dripper systems for scheduled irrigation of water with moisture accuracy for over two decades. As new technologies develop we consider their trial and implementation.
Integrated Pest Management in the vineyard allows natural predators to do the work for us. Revegetation belts around the vineyard provide shelter and for native birds and animals to feed in the vineyard which in turn means our use of pesticide sprays is near to non-existent.
Click here to read a recent article about our involvement in the Environmental Management in Viticulture program.
Our Brothers in Arms winery operates entirely on rainwater and is captured after use and treated on site pumped to 10 hectare woodlot established to regenerate an area of remnant vegetation on our property. This revegetation program over the past decade has now covered over 10% of our land, complimenting the River Red Gum swamps which are also under our care and have assisted other growers in the district by making suitable land available to Langhorne Creek Primary School and other local community groups to plant native vegetation.
Like many businesses we have looked carefully at the impact our practices have on the wider environment. One strength of being an estate producer is the smaller distances and hence lower carbon emissions involved in our production. Our businesses purchase and use 100% green offset electricity and we have an active recycling and recovery program for goods such as cardboard, glass and plastic.
We don’t claim to be the “greenest” winery but we do genuinely work towards the long term health of our own and the wider environment. After all, nurturing our vineyards through sensitive environmental practices is what will enable the 6th and future Generations to be able to enjoy it the way we have.