Rutherglen Wine Experience
57 Main Street, Rutherglen
1800 622 871
Getting to know a place like Rutherglen involves getting up close and personal with dozens of winemakers, grape-growers, farmgate producers and chefs, and experiencing their passion for the product they make and the region they live in. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Families have been tending the land here for five and six generations, and whether growing grapes, raising stock or some other agricultural pursuit, living off the land is not an occupation in Rutherglen, it is clearly a way of life. Much like the gnarled old grapevines that are such a common sight throughout the region, the connection to the land runs deep.
To help you to take advantage of Rutherglen and the other towns in the north east, the Rutherglen Wine Experience & Visitor Information Centre furnishes a wealth of resources on restaurants, wineries, activities, accommodations, and more. A level-one accredited visitor centre, it is located on Main Street in Rutherglen in a commanding 1864 heritage listed building. The Rutherglen Wine Experience portion of the centre highlights the history of winemaking in the region as well as its renowned wineries, and, in case the information leaves you thirsty, you can drop in to the centre’s very own wine shop for a taste and pick up a bottle or two.
If it’s too early for wine, the centre also houses a cafe, serving breakfast, lunch and seriously good coffee. There is also a great selection of regional produce, oils, jams, chutneys, preserves and even chocolates available for purchase. The
staff at the Rutherglen Wine Experience are so dedicated to the promotion of regional produce that they also manage the monthly Rutherglen Farmers Market, one of the longest running in the district. Held in the adjacent Lion Park on the second Sunday of each month, visitors can sample all that makes the region such a renowned food-bowl, from artisan breads to seasonal fruits and vegetables, farm fresh eggs, specialty meats and even the iconic Murray Cod.
After planning your route at the visitor centre, it’s time to hit the road. The historic town centre of Rutherglen has numerous cafes, restaurants and specialty retailers to peruse, along with a handful of classic country pubs. The
nearby towns of Chiltern, Yackandandah and Beechworth are similarly quaint, though each with their own distinct personality and well worth a detour should time allow. But wine is undoubtedly the foremost drawcard for visitors
to the region, and Rutherglen and surrounds is home to more than twenty boutique and mostly family-owned wineries. Some are near-enough to household names, with more than one hundred and fifty years of family winemaking behind them. Others are recent arrival to the region, bringing new ideas and energy with them, and adding diversity to the ‘blend’.
The region’s reputation has been built on Rutherglen Muscat, the world’s richest wine, and considered one of only two distinctly Australian wine styles (Hunter Valley Semillon being the other). Whilst Rutherglen Muscat has earned high praise from all corners of the wine world, there are many other lesser known gems waiting to be discovered. The full bodied red grape durif has been made in the region almost as long as muscat, and the region’s winemakers have embraced new and emerging varietals such as marsanne, viognier, sangiovese and tempranillo. All of the region’s wineries have welcoming Cellar Doors where wines are available for tasting, and more often than not the winemaker will be the person pouring the wines.
As the maps and brochures at the Rutherglen Wine Experience & Visitor Information Centre attest, the area’s numerous cafes and restaurants are also doing great things. The best restaurants serve menus absolutely packed with local produce, and the general rule of thumb among local chefs is the more local and fresher the better. If you’re looking for help finding the right restaurant, booking a culinary cycling tour, or learning about the latest wine events, the Rutherglen Wine Experience & Visitor Information Centre has its doors open daily, and the friendly staff can help you find just the right experiences to make the most of your visit.