Picturesque Rutherglen, in the heart of north-east Victoria, is a small town with a global reputation for its fortified wines. Go there to sample some of the region’s great wines and delicious local produce, and savour the scenic countryside.

 

In addition to being the traditional home of Australia’s great port styles, muscats and topaques, Rutherglen and neighbouring Wahgunyah are also gaining attention for the quality of their table wines.

Rutherglen is about 300 kilometres from Melbourne about 20 wineries in all, with several branching out stylistically into alternative grape varieties. The Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre has a display on the town’s rich history, and offers local tourism information.

The region is home to some of the most picturesque camping, fishing, cycling, swimming and boating locations in Australia. One of the more interesting ways of exploring is the Wahgunyah to Rutherglen extension of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, enabling cyclists to ride the sealed path from the banks of the Murray to historic Rutherglen. The nine-kilometre trail travels through the heart of the wine region.

 

Best hotels in Rutherglen

 

Front of La Maison St Arnaud

© georgiejamesphotography

La Maison St Arnaud

There’s no shortage of tourist accommodation in town, including great high-end Bed & Breakfasts such La Maison St Arnaud. This pet-friendly establishment gives its guest a boutique B&B experience like no other.

 

Tuileries room

© Neeska Robinson

Tuileries Rutherglen

Among the most central accommodation options is this long-time favourite luxury hotel next to the Rutherglen Estates cellar door. With an onsite restaurant, tennis court, swimming pool and free Wi-Fi, it’s hugely popular. Be sure to book in advance.

 

Room at Wine Village Motor Inn

© Wine Village Motor Inn

Wine Village Motor Inn

For an upmarket motel experience, this place has plenty of fans among locals and visitors alike.

 

Rutherglen Country Cottages 

The cosy Rutherglen Country Cottages offer comfortable and central self-contained B&B accommodation.

 

Room at Lake Moodemere Estate

© Lake Moodemere Estate

Moodemere Lake House

A good choice for those looking for a genuine country experience is this beautiful accommodation set within Lake Moodemere Estate. The broad deck and living area provide views across Lake Moodemere (think lazily watching pelicans and the occasional platypus), while the bedroom faces out toward the vineyard.

 

Mount Ophir Estate room

© Mount Ophir Estate

Mount Ophir Estate

For somewhere a little offbeat, consider here, where The Tower accommodation offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. This estate lives by the philosophy that we need to be gentle on the environment and look after the earth, and it shows when staying there.

 

Rutherglen Caravan & Tourist Park

For those on a budget, there are several camping options. This is a small but a highly recommended option on the shores of Lake King, which is just a two-minute walk from the town centre.

 

Best restaurants in Rutherglen

Rutherglen is a close-knit community, and there’s a history of hospitality handed down from generation to generation. As a rule of thumb it’s best to lunch at one of the vineyard restaurants or cafés, and to have dinner in town at one of the several eating establishments on Main Street.

 

Lunch at the Terrace restaurant

© All Saints Estate

Terrace Restaurant at All Saints Estate

Located within All Saints Estate, this restaurant is where British-born chef Simon Arkless has built a formidable reputation. The rather grand space is arguably the best eatery in north-east Victoria, and has wines from All Saints and St Leonards available by the glass.

 

Grapes from Jones Winery

© Jones Winery

Jones Winery Restaurant

This delightful French-style country kitchen approaches food with a ‘no waste’ ideology, selecting only seasonal and local products from people the head chef, Briony Bradford, knows personally. This place pushes boundaries with its diverse flavours and unique dishes.

 

Table at The Pickled Sisters Cafe

© The Pickled Sisters

The Pickled Sisters Café

Adjacent to the Cofield Wines cellar door. This is a favourite of local winemakers, who like to share its outstanding platters of local produce.

 

Inside of Thousand Pound

© Thousand Pound

Thousand Pound

A relative newcomer with a big following, this wine bar is the brainchild of Melbourne restaurateur Denis Lucey and the Brown family from All Saints Estate and St Leonards Vineyard. It’s housed in an original Victorian storefront in the centre of town.

 

Out front taste@Rutherglen

© Taste@Rutherglen

Taste@Rutherglen

With its own onsite brewery, this place is a bustling spot serving contemporary Australian dishes and a wide selection of wines and craft beer.

 

Table Ripe@Buller Wines

© Buller Wines

Ripe at Buller Wines

This exceptional restaurant within Buller Wines offers local flavours in a pleasant setting overlooking Buller Wines’ 100-year-old Calliope Vineyard.

 

Lunch at Tuileries

© De Bortoli Tuileries

Tuileries Rutherglen

One of most elegant local spot to dine, this establishment has a great selection of both local produce and wine. A more country-oriented kitchen, its own garden provides a large seasonal selection of herbs and vegetables.

 

Honey from Rutherglen Farmers Market

© Rutherglen Farmers Market

Rutherglen Farmers Market

To sample local gourmet goods, try the local Rutherglen Farmers Market, which brings into town a vast range of everything you might need to whip up your own delectable dishes. The markets are held on the second Sunday of each month.

 

Pies at Parker Pies

© Parker Pies

Parker Pies

Right on the main drag, this family-owned pie shop is hugely popular. In the heart of Victoria’s oldest wine region, this pastry shop uses fresh local ingredients in everything it makes, and has won more than 200 awards.

 

Best bars & cafés in Rutherglen

Wine is very much the raison d’être of Rutherglen. The vinous history here dates to the 1850s gold rush.

 

View of vineyard and winery

© Chambers Rosewood

Chambers Rosewood Vineyards

Established in 1858, this family-owned establishment is the oldest winery in the region. Stephen Chambers is the sixth generation in his family to make wine at Rosewood.

 

Morris Wines early days

© Morris Wines

Morris Wines

Down a long driveway surrounded by vineyards, this winery is a small family-run establishment. The winery was established in 1859 and his since won more than 4000 awards for its outstanding wines. To keep the history of the cellar door alive, views of century-old storage casts and dirt floors are all part of the winemaking experience.

 

Campbell Wines Cellar Door

© Campbell Wines

Campbells Wines 

Now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Campbell family, this winery was established in 1870. Traces of treacle, butterscotch and oak emanate from these wines. Many of them decades-old, maturing in casks or giant oak barrels.

 

Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen Forest

© Ann Killeen

Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen

At Pfeiffer Wines you can enjoy a glass of wine on the Sunday Creek Bridge while gazing down at lazy turtles below. It produces many wines of elegance, including crisp whites, full-bodied reds and internationally extolled muscats and topaques.

 

All Saints Castle-like Estate

© All Saints Estate

All Saints Estate

Established in 1864, this heritage-listed estate is run by the fourth generation of the Brown family. Tastings are conducted in an atmospheric old chateau.

 

Table at Ripe in Buller Wines

© Buller Wines

Buller Wines

Now owned by local couple Gerald and Mary Judd, the facilities and wines here are fast being returned to their past glory.

 

View of Valhalla's Winery

© Valhalla Wines

Valhalla Wines

This boutique operation uses natural vineyard practices, traditional winemaking techniques and have produce diverse wine varietals including marsanne, grenache and shiraz.

 

Out front of Pickers Cafe & Collectable

© Pauline Laing

Pickers Café & Collectables

Based upon the owners love of homecooked food and collectables, this is a fantastic place to stop by for breakfast, light lunch and afternoon tea.

More foodie-inspired getaways can be found in Daylesford, Beechworth and Healesville.

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