The bad news is that summer has said its final farewell. BUT, the best thing about summer ending, is that autumn begins, which might just be the perfect season for wineries… and we’re spoilt for choice here in South Australia.
So if you’re in the mood for a food and wine journey through one of the country’s oldest wine regions, then skip the line-ups amongst some of the bigger regions and come spend a day with us in the Langhorne Creek Wine Region.
Langhorne Creek is a quiet, laid-back hideaway. It’s about an hour drive from Adelaide and 35 minutes from the south coast. With rich history to discover from generations of farming families, this region is a little different to the rest. Its rural charm and country hospitality have given it a friendly and welcoming character, where there’s less time spent swirling and more time spent having fun.
The cellar door atmosphere at the ‘Creek is perfectly curated for getting the gang together over a long, progressive lunch (washed down with award-winning wines, a spot of lawn games and even sampling chocolate and skincare if can sneak it in).
But with 8 unique cellar doors, where do you start? (Ok, perhaps you’ll have to come back a few times to fit it all in).
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to give you all the inspo you need for your next wine tour through the Langhorne Creek Wine Region.
Underneath towering gum trees sits Kimbolton Wines – an award-winning, earthy, modern and architecturally-inspired cellar door. Made from re-purposed shipping containers, modern ply and recycled timber, you’re likely to fall in love on arrival just imagining what you’re about to get up to inside! But just wait, there’s more…
While Kimbolton Wines has been producing brilliant blends from Langhorne Creek for a number of decades, its first cellar door was only opened in December 2018. And since then – the team have built an exceptional name for themselves as one of Australia’s emerging young wine brands.
When they’re not celebrating their own industry accolades, they’re typically hosting an event at their cellar door. Their recent Sunday sessions, which were built around good wine and globally-inspired cuisine, brought food trucks and live entertainment to their patch – and its popularity has grown as people keep returning for more!
With a wall of wine bottles to get you in the mood as you arrive, you simply can’t walk away from the tasting room empty-handed. And my-oh-my, the upstairs viewing deck has to be one of our favourite vantage points in the whole region, with sweeping 360-degree views over the vineyard landscape and magnificent red gums of Langhorne Creek.
This cellar door ticks boxes for families too. The kids can choose from a selection of lawn games like croquet and totem tennis to keep themselves entertained, while parents can relax and taste in peace. But, from what we’ve seen – even the parents like to join in on the fun with the games, and the kids can try the non-alcoholic kid’s version of Kimbolton’s wine and cheese flights during the school holidays.
With a name that holds the title as one of the oldest operating wine producers in Australia (an incredible 170 years in the game) and awarded more than 50 trophies in the last decade (including one of the highest and most respected awards in winemaking the 2019 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for their 2018 Wild Fig SGM), you’ll need to stop at the family-owned and run Bleasdale Vineyards.
This wide range of phenomenal premium reds and crisp autumn whites are some of the best in Australia (and it’s not just us who believe it – it’s the big guys too!). One other thing we love about Bleasdale, is that this down-to-earth team hasn’t let the big awards go their heads. No. They’re still the same hilarious characters, who love sharing their wine and vineyard stories with everyone who comes through the doors. Stop by, and you’ll see what we mean.
This cellar door has an intriguing story waiting for you, with a reminder to its history around every corner. Browse old photographs and paintings on the walls while tasting their selection of wines, check out their historic 1892 Old Press (a 3.5 tonne red gum lever once used to press grapes) or join their guided ‘Beyond the Cellar Door’ tour *which will resume mid-April 2020 for the full experience.
Make sure you get in a taste of the Frank Potts red blend or some of the newer pinot gris varieties – they’re simply delicious (and suit perfectly for a Sunday BBQ, picnic or roast dinner).
While Lake Breeze Wines is fast becoming famous for its brilliant annual music festival Handpicked (which we all attended on the magnificent expansive lawns), it’s the quieter times that we prefer to visit the cellar door.
With a cabinet full of awards and a reputation as one of Australia’s most awarded boutique wineries, it’s probably time you experienced the magic of this cellar door in person – because this place is built to entertain.
It’s the view from their second storey dining area and balcony that really take the cake – and it’s easily one of our favourite Insta-worthy spots across all of South Australia. After a round of wine tasting on the ground floor, you can waddle upstairs to experience the incredible 180-degree views of the vineyards below – all while you settle in for a regional platter, or long lunch with friends.
If you want to keep it slow and easy, then go with a humble picnic outdoors at the venue. When you book ahead of time at Lake Breeze, the cellar door team will have your hamper ready on arrival (*start the car*). All you need to do is find a spot on the lush widespread lawns, roll out the picnic rug, lay down your spread (of savoury gourmet delights or sweet seasonal fruits with chocolate dipping sauce), and graze the afternoon away under the gum trees.
Sisters, Rebecca and Lucy Willson are the award-winning experts behind iconic Bremerton Wines. Focused on producing high quality wines and a stunning cellar door experience that showcases the region, there’s a lot to love about this place (and people come back time-and-time again).
You’ll have various options to sit down and indulge. The beautifully restored, high-ceiling atmosphere of their stone barn will take your breath away, while you taste their extensive list of sparkling red and white wines.
They’ve curated an experience at Bremerton, which includes an art gallery and indoor dining space merged into one. It gives you artworks to admire, while sipping on your wine and indulging in their brilliant light-lunch options (we’d recommend testing their dessert pizza too!).
If the weather’s nice, grab a picnic rug to chill out on the lawns and sample locally-sourced delights in a share platter – some of the produce can be found inside to purchase too. There will also be bean bags, wooden games, crates and umbrellas – so you can settle in for the day and enjoy the tastes.
The team at Vineyard Road knows about the art of treating yourself. Here you can experience the trio of wine tasting, personal pampering (with a range of natural olive oil skincare) and the newest addition of treats from Fleurieu Chocolate Company. It’s this triple threat that helps make them a truly unique and luxurious cellar door.
Thanks to their friendly, welcoming team, you’ll walk out calm and relaxed after a special wine and chocolate pairings and platters. They even have a special bench to try out their skincare products if you have the time.
These guys also have regular events, so make sure you give them a follow over on Facebook to keep in touch with what’s on (and spy any new chocolate products which arrive ready to taste).
Sip or cycle your way through the ‘Creek
No one in your group has to worry about drawing the short straw to be designated driver when you choose Juggle House Experiences. Kelly and her team can help you organise a wine tour for groups of up to 11 in their Entertainer bus – which has a fully-equipped karaoke system! Or if you have more to join, the team can bring out their big vehicle and get everyone on board – while Kelly and the team give you a personalised tour around this amazing wine region.
Otherwise, another adventurous way to experience the Langhorne Creek Wine Region is through Fleurieu Cycle Tours who set you up with all the essential gear and equipment, plus a detailed route to sightsee along the way.
Otherwise if you already have all the gear, try your own self-guided tour. We recommended a 14-kilometre loop route that starts and ends at Lake Breeze and gives you the opportunity to stop at Bleasdale, Bremerton, The Winehouse, Rusticana Wines and the Bridge Hotel. Riding through here is hardly a challenge so you can afford to take it at your own pace.
While we’re talking groups, if you need a place for group meals, or events, why not test out the team from The Winehouse (restaurant, cellar door and Meechi Brewing tastings); or head over to the lush lawns of Angas Plains who regularly host large groups for functions.
And if you spend the night, you’ve GOT to test out the Oasis Function Centre’s Sunday breakfast menu (we’re a bit in love with the coconut and buckwheat pancakes, and salmon eggs benedict).
Extend your weekend away
In the heart of Langhorne Creek is the Frank Potts Reserve, situated next to the Bremer River, it’s a popular site for camping, caravans and motor homes – and if you’ve got the gear, might be the place to stay for you.
Otherwise, after bouncing from cellar door to cellar door The Creek Cottage bed and breakfast is your own private home to come back to at the end of the day and get cosy.
Ready to spend some time discovering our wine region? Forget the stress of the city and get a taste of the ‘Creek this Autumn.
Start exploring the Langhorne Creek Wine Region’s website for more information on history, news, maps, upcoming events, nearby experiences and more here.