When it comes to wine regions in Victoria, we really are spoilt for choice. We’ve got Red Hill, the Mornington Peninsula, and out to The Pyrenees all so close to Melbourne. So why should we drive the extra two hours to a little town near Albury Wondonga? For the sweet fortifieds, full bodied reds and to meet the people who make this wine.
Rutherglen is one of the oldest wine regions in Victoria and what sets it apart is the family businesses. Most of the wineries are family owned and operated, and more often than not you’ll find the man at the cellar door’s name matches that on the bottle of wine. These are third, fourth and even sixth generation winemakers who’ve grown up with wine in their blood. We spent a weekend sampling their produce and found a contagious energy rooted in history that’s running through town and out through their cellar doors.
Stanton & Killeen
Waiting behind the oak bar at Stanton & Killeen with a big smile on his face is Simon Killen. Established by Simon’s by great, great grandfather in 1864, Stanton & Killeen is a small but expanding winery. Simon is a fourth generation wine maker with a contagious energy and passion for his company and the larger Australian wine industry. We recommend Stanton’s Classic Muscat that was recently awarded Gold at the 2012 Decanter Wine Awards.
Jacks Road, Rutherglen
(02) 6032 9457
Across the road from Stanton & Killeen is the larger, more prestigious winery Campbells. Most famous for their Bobbie Burns Shiraz, Campbells have nearly 161 acres to their name. Wandering around the picturesque setting are fourth generation winemakers and brothers Malcolm and Collin Campbell. Rutherglen is known for their big reds and Campbells Barkly Durif is a great example of this. The cellar door is open daily and maned by an expert team pop down and try it.
Throughout September, Campbells is participating in Spring Graze with make-it-yourself Hamper Boxes. Pick from an array of local cheeses, crackers and condiments.
Murray Valley Highway, Rutherglen
(02) 6033 6000
With an Order of Australia for his service to the Australian Wine Industry under his belt it’s evident, Chris Pfeiffer knows a thing or two about wine. His daughter Jen has also inherited this skill and together they are at the forefront of the Australian wine industry and pushing it forward. For something a bit different try their Apera (Australian Apertif) range- these are perfect mid-afternoon wines. Located next the Sunday Creek Pfieffer has one of the most picturesque locations in the region. On a sunny day the historic Sunday creek bridge makes a nice spot for lunch- grab a Pfeiffer picnic basket a bottle of their apera and settle in for the afternoon.
All Saints Winery
It’s hard not to be impressed by the All Saints winery. A long drive up the oak tree lined driveway leads you to an 1880s castle that looks like somewhere a princess would live. Fourth generation wine makers Eliza, Angela and Nicholas Brown run this idealic winery as well as sister venue St Leonards vineyard. As well as award winning fortifieds All Saints also has a solid flagship Family Cellar range including Chardonnay, Marsanne, Shiraz and Durif. For something pretty special try the Rare Rutherglen Muscat. And don’t miss the cheese room.
All Saints Road, Wahgunyah
(02) 6035 2222
Blue eyes and a passion for wine are two good things to pass down to your son. While Stephen Chambers has taken the reigns as a Chambers chief winemaker his dad, Bill, still mans the cellar door on weekends. With their eclectic collection of Australiana knick knacks and self serve tasting policy, it’s not hard to see why they won the reader choice Best Cellar Door in Australia in Gourmet Traveller earlier this year.
Barkly Street, Rutherglen
(02) 6032 8641
Scion Vineyard + Winery
Scion (pronounced ‘sigh- on’) is one of the newest wineries in the region. Established in 2002 by Jan Milhinch and her son Rowly, Scion does things a little differently, making less traditional wines. Whilst Jan literally built the winery from the ground up, her son Rowly now manages the vineyard and cellar door. He’s also a great photographer so make sure you check out his work hanging around the cellar door.
This Weekend Scion is hosting The Blind Judge Masterclasses hosted by The Humble Tumbler's charismatic wine educator Clare Burder and celebrated wine commentator Nick Bulleid MW.
74 Slaughterhouse Road, Rutherglen
(02) 6032 8844
Having recently appointed Simon Arkless (Comme and Circa and Chester White) as head chef The Terrace is turning out some excellent food. Think dishes like- twice cooked pork belly, quince aioli, celeriac, apple and radish slaw. Situated on All Saints property, the space is a light and bright lunch spot during the day that transforms into a sleek, moody restaurant on Saturday nights.
All Saints Road, Wahgunyah
(02) 6035 2222
A warm welcoming cafe located just down the road from Cofield Wines, Pickled Sisters offers breakfast, lunch and even dinner, if you’ve got a large enough group. Stewart Gilchrist runs the kitchen serving up generous fare with a scottish twist, whilst his wife Marion Hansford looks after the floor. Coffee here gets a special mention.
Distillery Road, Wahgunyah
(02) 6033 2377
Located in the middle of Rutherglen, Tuileries is the town’s main accommodation. Whilst the décor hasn’t been updated for a good 20 years, it has a certain country charm that’s hard to resist. The rooms are spacious, clean and have their own unique theme. Ours was pop art complete with Andy Warhol prints. There’s also a tennis court of your keen for a hit.
13-35 Drummond Street, Rutherglen
(02) 6032 9033
John Foord Guesthouse
Just ten minutes from Rutherglen is the John Foord Guesthouse- a four bedroom property nestled in the heart of Corowa. This residence is perfect for families or couples looking for a bit of extra space. The house is fully self-contained with an open kitchen and generous dining table perfect for long lazy breakfasts.
7 Braintree Ave, Corowa