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Metala restoration of a birthright

Metala Restoration of a Birthright

On a long, dusty road near Langhorne Creek, surrounded by rows of grapevines and towering gum trees, there sits a beautifully restored homestead, originally built in the early 1860s for a gentleman called Herman Daenke. Daenke, after falling into financial hardship, later sold the property to William Formby, who would start the journey of Metala Wines.

Five generations later, the homestead has been lovingly restored by Liz and Guy Adams, the current owners of the Metala vineyards, who now live there with their two children, Myles and Emily. Together, they’ve worked tirelessly over the last two decades to bring the Metala name back to its original home in Langhorne Creek.

“I am still impressed by the bravery of my great, great grandfather William Formby,” muses Guy. “Sailing from his comfortable English home in 1839 with his brother John, he could not have imagined the legacy he would create. In 1882 he purchased the Metala property in Langhorne Creek, initially to breed horses to supply Formby’s Horse Bazaar that was located in the Queen’s Theatre that he had renovated.”



Working hard in the Metala warehouse

The Metala property in Langhorne Creek holds a lot of family heritage for Guy Adams


With his son Arthur, William planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grapes in 1891 and those beautiful ancestor vines are a testament to his foresight. “Securing the Metala legacy has been my one true goal,” says Guy. “To have brought the brand back to its origin makes me incredibly proud.”

And it truly is a legacy. As one of the big guns of the Australian wine industry during the 20th century, Metala has an enviable list of great winemakers attached to its name, including both Bryan and Nigel Dolan of Stonyfell fame.

“How does it feel to be a part of the Metala legacy? It’s very exciting and if I’m honest, a little bit daunting,” admits current Chief Winemaker Jim Urlwin. “Some great winemakers have been involved with Metala in the past. I have a deep respect for the history of this place and its past winemakers. I’m both proud and humbled at the same time.”

As far as the direction Metala is heading, Urlwin says he wants to keep it simple, making the traditional Metala wines in a modern style, and showcasing the unique characters of the vineyard. “To have the opportunity to work with a vineyard with such a rich history and renowned quality is every winemaker’s dream. And it’s exciting to note that after all of these years Metala wines will actually be made at Metala for the very first time.”

Each generation of the family has brought their own ideas and contribution to the ongoing life of Metala. Looking ahead, Guy and Liz believe the future is all about staying true to the estate, and its heritage.

“I am not looking to build the biggest brand in the world. I’m looking to create a sustainable business that will continue to support future generations,” says Guy. We’ll drink to that!

Rediscover the classic flavour and character of a true icon in Australian wine at metala.com.au

Published on
1 Jun 2023


Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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