The sprawling Adelaide Hills dwarfs most other South Australian wine regions. In fact, the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra would easily fit within its boundaries – with room to spare. Unsurprisingly, most tourists only see a fraction of the region when they visit – something Longview CEO Peter Saturno is quick to acknowledge.
“The Adelaide Hills is a really, really large area and, while the businesses around Balhannah get a lot of visits, we’ve got to work a bit harder to draw people in,” he says. “But we’ve been doing that for 15 years now.”
Longview is about 50 kilometres from Adelaide, near Macclesfield, where the Mount Lofty Ranges slope down towards Lake Alexandrina to provide the stunning vistas that give the winery its name.
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Longview sits in a bowl of gently rumpled hills and is very much a destination winery. It’s why the Saturno family has worked hard to augment the cellar door offering with 12 self-contained suites, a restored sandstone homestead and a restaurant that reflects their Italian heritage.
But the latest expansion introduces an entirely new element. “A lot of different things have been tried in the wine industry,” says Saturno, “and we wanted to provide something that hasn’t been looked at before in a [South Australian] vineyard. That’s why we decided to build a day spa.”
Longview is claiming it’s the first winery in the state to introduce a day spa (and based on our research that seems to check out).
During its research phase, it found that many wellness centres revolve around water-based treatments, but that was never an option at Longview. Despite the valley’s high rainfall, rocky soils and a layer of impenetrable clay mean that much of the water runs off the property before the vines can soak it up, and careful management of water resources is vital to the winery’s ongoing success. “Especially when you’re dealing with varieties like nebbiolo,” says Saturno with a laugh. “That’s just a bit of a thirsty little pig. If we had multiple spas, we’d run out of water within a month.”
Instead, day spa’s focus is primarily on the picturesque surrounds. That approach is typified by the screened-in porch overlooking rows of pinot noir vines where kangaroos gather in the mornings and evenings.
The compact facility opened in April with three treatment rooms (two singles and one double). The connection to place is bolstered by the use of local products, including the Swiss Wellness organic skincare range from nearby Flaxley, Etikette candles from Bridgewater and Kindred essential oils. All the treatments begin with a consultation so therapists can customise your experience to include hot-stone massages, facials, manicures or indulgent three-hour packages. And when they’re done, guests can relax on the back deck with a glass of wine from the nearby vines.
While construction was underway, Saturno decided to add a new accommodation option near the spa. The Lodge has a spacious open-plan living area and modern kitchen that leads to a north-facing deck with a barbeque. All four king-size bedrooms have an en suite and roomy wardrobes. The new lodgings (which sleeps eight) mean the winery can now accommodate 42 people.
Native gardens surround both the spa and the lodge, and newly planted pink mist correas and willow peppermint complement the stately red gums that provide vital habitat for the plentiful (and vocal) birdlife. Large rainwater tanks allow Longview to operate without mains, and an array of solar panels provides much of the power.
“We want people to use this as a base while they go and explore the rest of the region,” Saturno says. “But when they’re here it’s a holistic experience, and that really does set us apart. You can come for lunch, stay the night and take some handmade pasta and sugo back to your room, or book some treatments. Everything you need is right here.”