Wine tourism on the rise in Langhorne Creek
Langhorne Creek, less than an hour’s drive southeast of Adelaide, is the fourth largest wine-producing region in Australia behind the Riverland, Riverina and Barossa Valley. But only a handful of cellar doors and its location in the shadow of the more populated regions of McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills have contributed to Langhorne Creek comparative lack of patronage among tasters.
This is beginning to change.
This month’s fifth annual Handpicked Festival in Langhorne Creek attracted a record 5000 visitors. Kimbolton Wines will also open the region’s eighth cellar door this weekend.
Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Marketing Manager Marina Goldsworthy said cellar door statistics across the region had shown growth in visitor numbers of 10 to 15 per cent year on year since 2016.
She said wine and music events such as Handpicked and the growing populations of nearby Mount Barker and Strathalbyn were helping to attract many first-time visitors to the region.
“We’re definitely getting a lot more traction in the marketplace and it’s being seen as a destination that’s different and authentic with an old-fashioned country feel,” Goldsworthy said.
“We don’t have a Seppeltsfield or a Cube but the experiences we have are good wholesome country food, great wine that’s really good value and we’re not far from the city.”
Ironically, there is no waterway called Langhorne Creek. The small township is near the Bremer River and Lake Alexandrina, which provides irrigation water and cooling summer breezes. It is named after rogue drover Alfred “The Liar” Langhorne who drove his stock across the Bremer at what became known as Langhorne’s Crossing.
Since then, Langhorne Creek has become home to some of the world’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines and produced the inaugural Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1962 – Australia’s most famous wine prize – when Stoneyfell’s 1961 Metala Cabernet Shiraz beat all-comers.
Wolf Blass also won three successive Jimmy Watsons in the 1970s using Langhorne Creek fruit.
And the success has continued.
Grape growers in the Langhorne Creek region since the 1880s, the Follett family has won more than 50 trophies at major Australian wine shows
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