Rutherglen in northwest Victoria is synonymous with heady, fortified wines, best savoured around a cosy fireplace. But while these muscats and topaques slumber in their 100-year old barrels, Rutherglen winemakers are busy rejuvenating their wineries with a swathe of alternative Portugese, Spanish and Mediterranean varieties. Be charmed by new and old wines on this romantic Victorian getaway.
Begin the day with a hearty breakfast at the award-winning Parker’s Pies in town. It’s never too early for a Jolly Jumbuck pie. Then, put your wine tasting hat on; it’s time to visit the iconic Campbells, one of Australia’s oldest wineries. You’ll be spoilt for choice here but you must try their spicy Sixties Block and Mediterranean whites including Trebbiano and Roussanne.
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Continue on towards the river and Valhalla, a sustainable winery specialising in Rhone varieties such as the creamy Marsanne. Next door, follow a tree-lined driveway to the stunning, 150-year old All Saints castle. Relish in the history, an impressive range of new-world wines, and lunch at one-hat Terrace restaurant.
After lunch, visit Stanton and Killeen, whose seven generation winery and 90-year old vines produce exceptional single variety reds including Durif, Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional. Then, fall in love with Rosé, as you’ve never tasted it before, amongst others, at newcomer and one of Victoria’s Top 100 Wineries, Scion.
Feeling sleepy? Enjoy a well-earned snooze at the Wicked Villa, before joining the locals at the chic and well-stocked Thousand Pound bar. Settle in for the evening with bar food from the Terrace, or catch a shuttle bus to Lake Moodymere winery for a sunset dinner of estate-grown lamb and wine on the banks of the lake.
Sleep in, then tuck in with brunch at the Pickled Sisters, conveniently located next to Cofield winery; you’ll want to nip across to taste their delicious sparkling Shiraz. Then head to another 5-star winery, Chambers Rosewood, which alongside its incredible, ‘perfect score’ fortified wines, produce several unusual varieties such as Gouais.
If you’re in need of more sustenance, or perhaps just a restorative coffee, stop in to Jones winery and café. Pick up a gourmet picnic hamper to enjoy down by the bridge at nearby Pfeiffers winery. Pre-lunch, you’ll want to try their cheeky Apera range, a modern twist on traditional Australian sherry, as well as their lighter reds including Gamay and Pinot Noir.
Need to know
Rutherglen is 3.5 hours drive from Melbourne and Canberra.
Tastes of Rutherglen – Labour Day weekend, March 12th & 13th 2016
Winery Walkabout –Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 11th & 12th 2016
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