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Star winemakers put Langhorne Creek grapes in a glass of their own

Primary Industries

Three rising stars of Australian winemaking have won the right to produce a one-off wine under their own labels using gifted Langhorne Creek grapes.

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The winemakers from the South Australian regions of Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale will each use two-tonnes of fruit to create their bespoke wines after being named winners of the inaugural Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Incorporated Project 5255, which aims to boost the region’s profile.

Charlotte Hardy, of Charlotte Dalton Wines, will make a Fiano, Turon White, of Turon Wines, a Grenache, and Rob Mack , of Aphelion Wine Co, will make a Malbec from the Langhorne Creek grapes.

All three wineries have earned major plaudits prior to this week’s announcement.

Based at Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills, Turon Wines was named as one of the top three new wineries in James Halliday’s 2019 Wine Companion while McLaren Vale’s Rob Mack, who established Aphelion Wine Co in November 2015 with his wife Louise Rhodes has taken out several industry awards including Winner of Young Gun of Wine in 2018.

Charlotte Hardy mainly uses Adelaide Hills fruit in her wines and recently opened a cellar door and winery south of Langhorne Creek in Port Elliot. In 2018 Charlotte Dalton Wines was awarded Best Wine of Show at the Adelaide Hills Wine Show for her 2017 Love you Love Me Shiraz.

The 5255 Project, which takes its name from Langhorne Creek’s postcode, attracted 26 applications from across South Australia and one from Queensland.

Langhorne Creek, less than an hour’s drive southeast of Adelaide, is Australia’s fourth largest wine-producing region but is often overshadowed by the nearby wine hubs of McLaren Vale, Barossa and Adelaide Hills.

Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Incorporated Marketing and Communications Manager, Marina Goldsworthy said they were thrilled with the number and quality of applicants.

“We were extremely pleased to see so many people apply for this first-time wine initiative. We didn’t expect to see such high-calibre applicants in the first year. It’s an exciting and rare opportunity and we can’t wait to see the quality wines that will be produced over the coming year,” she said.

“Langhorne Creek is best known for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. So, this is a perfect opportunity to really showcase the whole Creek offering.”

The winning winemakers will meet with their chosen Langhorne Creek growers this month to discuss picking strategies ahead of the harvest, which traditionally runs from February to April.

The Fiano will be the first of the Project 5255 wines released in the second half of 2020 with the two red variety expected to follow in 2021.

A second Project 5255 is expected to launch in 2021 following the release of the three wines.

The two tonnes of grapes from the 2020 vintage is expected to produce about 150 dozen bottles. The winning winemakers are free to sell the wine under their own brands but the wine must be made from 100 per cent Langhorne Creek and include the Project 5255 logo on its label.

“Each winemaker has their own unique style and aesthetic and that will be truly evident in the wine making process, finished product and label,” Goldsworthy said.

“Over the coming months, we look forward to capturing and sharing their individual journeys.”

The project is being partially funded by a $25,000 grant from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA). Part of the funding will be used to purchase the grapes at reduced rates from participating growers.

The development and delivery of the project is part of the South Australian Wine Industry Development Program as administered by SAWIA.

Langhorne Creek is 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.

The region was also recognised this year when Bleasedale Vineyards was awarde the 2019 Jimmy Watson Trophy for its 2018 The Wild Fig SGM.

South Australia typically produces about 50 per cent of Australia’s wine and 80 per cent of its premium wine each year.

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