introduction to langhorne creek
One of the best-kept secrets in Australian viticulture, Langhorne Creek is also one of Australia’s oldest wine regions!
Langhorne Creek is an ideal place to produce grapes since the area is characterized by sufficient rainfall levels, a cooling evening breeze from Lake Alexandrina and dry warm summers. Thus, the cool breezes from nearby Lake Alexandrina create a microclimate of sunny summer days and cool evenings, ideal for a slow maturation that helps to shape a wine with a fresh climate, complex aromas and high intensity. Langhorne Creek’s fertile soils are predominantly deep, alluvial sandy loams that vary in colour from red-brown to dark grey, with patches of black, self-mulching clays.
One surprising and key climate event for this region is the flooding of the vineyards. In fact, in winter every 4 years on average, the Bremer River overflows and inundates the natural floodplain, which is home to Langhorne Creek’s iconic vineyards! The flood assists in improving soil quality, replenishing wildlife, and importantly helps them save water for the rest of the year.
Langhorne Creek has some of the oldest Cabernet vines in the world. It is a full-bodied, aromatic and fruit-oriented wine, with notes of blackcurrant, liqueur, dark chocolate and mint! Alongside its famous Cabernet Sauvignon, Langhorne Creek produces full bodied Shiraz and Malbec.
Langhorne Creek is a wine-growing region that produces lots of grapes but has very few cellar doors: in fact, there are only 6 cellar doors facilities while there are more than 70 winegrowers in the region! Oenotourism is really at its beginning there.
Family has played a huge role in the history of Kimbolton Wines. In the 1800’s, Frank Pott purchased 100 acres of land and then planted the first vines. He thus established the first winery in the region!
Today, Kimbolton Wines is held by 5th generation winemakers and descendants of Frank Potts, Nicole Clark and Brad Case. During our time at Kimbolton Wines, we were welcomed by Nicole. She used to work in finance but when she got her daughter, she started to help her mother (especially on accounting matters) and became more and more involved with the winery. And now she’s 100% dedicated to the business!
The Kimbolton Vineyards now has more than 50 hectares of vines, close to Lake Alexandrina and above all Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
our time at KIMBOLTON
We were able to discuss with her the challenges of the Langhorne Creek region, including its recurring floods that completely cover the vines into water and seriously affect them every 4 to 5 years. We were also able to discuss the impact of global warming, which was obviously a concern for Nicole. Indeed, the increase in flood episodes is directly correlated with climate change, which can become a real challenge for Kimbolton Wines and more generally for the Langhorne Creek region.
Then, Nicole mentioned to us the main specificity of Langhorne Creek, which is more a region of winegrowers than winemakers. Thus, the large majority of vineyards own hectares of vines without making their wine in cellars. The viticulturist of the estate, Jane, also joined us, and we were able to interview these two inspiring women.
Finally, we’ve had a tasting session in their new cellar door, opened in 2018. We really appreciated the architecture of the cellar door, made out of repurposed shipping containers and which features modern ply and recycled timber that create an earthy modern setting nestled amongst the gum trees. We loved the sweeping views across the vineyard and the Langhorne Creek region.
Bremerton is a family vineyard, run by the sisters Rebecca and Lucy Willson in Langhorne Creek in South Australia, a region renowned for its vineyards.
The estate now covers 120 hectares. A large part of the vineyard is dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, but Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Malbec and Petit Verdot also belong there.
The family-owned winery was established in 1988 and Rebecca and Lucy became the first sisters to run a winery in Australia. The first bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz were planted in 1991, then the vineyard was expanded with new varieties planted (such as Malbec, Merlot or Verdehlo).Everything is harvested by machines, most of the time at night to deliver fruits when they’re cold.
In addition, the vineyard not only has vines but also a cellar door, which is unusual in the Langhorne Creek region, especially known as a land of vines. They currently export more than 40% of their production: UK is the oldest but also the smallest market whereas Asia, especially China, is the fastest growing market but also the hardest to build strong relations with.
our time at bremerton wines
During our stay in the vineyard, we had the chance to meet these 2 inspiring women, Bec and Lucy, who are passionate about their work and love what they do. We were welcomed in their magnificent cellar, and participated in a tasting session with Lucy, the winemaker, who described all the wines she made. We then interviewed the two sisters together!
We had a great time with them, these two women are very cheerful and seem very close and complementary in their way of working. They are passionate women, as their brand states: “It's our life”.
As for the role of women in the wine industry, Bec and Lucy both said that they have been fortunate, and never faced any bad situations where they felt inferior. They mentioned that their father had no issue with having daughters and not son: he encouraged them and always said that they could do it so it felt natural for them to take on the family-owned vineyard.
David and Barbara Bruer established Temple Bruer Wines in the early 1970's. In the 1990's, conversion to fully certified organic grapegrowing practices commenced. Today, all of their plantings are certified as A-Grade Organic by the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA).
This winery is now 100 percent Certified Organic and Carbon Neutral. Their wines have been preservative-free since 2006 and they focus on hitting the perfect balance between a top-quality taste and taking care of Mother Earth! The philosophy of Temple Bruer Wines is to create sustainable wines by working mindfully with nature.
our time at temple bruer
During our day at Temple Bruer Wines, we met Kate Wall, the vineyard manager of the estate. We went to see the organic vines with Kate and we were able to discuss with her the methods used to produce an organic wine. She explained to us that organic grape growing principles prohibit the use of synthetic chemicals, so only organic fertilizers, such as manures and plant-derived composts are used.
Indigenous insect species are encouraged, to provide a balanced ecology where predatory insects help to keep insect pest populations under control. Similarly, an extensive planting program of local tree species has been undertaken to provide habitats for native birds, which tend to exclude exotic birds which may damage crops.
Kate also told us that the vineyard has set up sensors placed directly on the plants, which make it possible to collect information related to soil moisture, or to provide information on the environment (ambient temperature/soil, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, etc.). In this way, they allow the winegrower to know exactly when the plant needs water and thus limit waste in terms of irrigation.