The world-famous Rutherglen wine region in Victoria is just a three-hour drive from Melbourne. It's acclaimed for its fortified wines led by Muscat of Rutherglen. It's impossible to replicate as it contains the essence and artistry of multiple generations.
Come for an authentic rural experience, complete with warm hospitality. Travel down quiet country lanes on unsealed roads, with wide open fields and vines to your left and to your right – and nothing between them and the horizon.
Campbells Wines was founded in 1870 and is one of the region's most lauded practitioners of the fortified art. Order a vineyard platter of cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and, of course, a glass of wine. Take part in a a general fortified tasting, or indulge in one of the many private tasting experiences offered in the heart of the cellars among the giant casks.
Hit the road for more muscat at Buller Wines, founded in 1921 by Reg Buller. It has a big national reputation for its fortified wines, led by the Calliope Black Label. These days, the new owners – all locals – have rejuvenated wine production and offer one of the more evocative cellar door experiences in the region.
Stanton and Killeen Wines are the result of a decades long partnership – the Stantons were the original vignerons and the partnership was formed when Norm Killeen married Joan Stanton in the 1940s. Seven generations of Stantons and Killeens have lived, worked and produced some astoundingly beautiful muscats here. The style is generally fresh and fruity, and impervious to time and trends.
Jones Winery and Vineyard are a multi-generational wine producer, run by experienced winemaker Mandy Jones and her brother, Arthur. Enjoy a cellar door muscat tasting or dine French country style at Jones Winery Restaurant, open for lunch Thursday to Sunday. Co-owner and winemaker Mandy has a strong French food and wine background. You can also arrange picnic hampers (with 24-hours' notice) or enjoy one of the monthly special dinners.
Get a glimpse of history at Morris Wines, where little has changed in more than 100 years: the floors are dirt; the barrel hall is stacked with barrels, often unmarked – the perfect hiding place for old stocks – but fifth generation winemaker David Morris knows the identity of every single one.
Drive to Chambers Rosewood Vineyards, where Stephen Chambers has inherited some of the finest fortified blending material in the region. Together with his father Bill, they fashion muscats that regularly catch the eye of some of the world's greatest wine critics.
If you're travelling to Rutherglen via the Hume Highway, stop for coffee at Café Mely and Me in the charming heritage town of Euroa for excellent coffee, tea, cakes or a late breakfast.
Enjoy a leisurely cooked or continental breakfast at Lake Moodemere Estate, or grab a coffee and cake to go at The Other Place in Main Street, Rutherglen.
Grab lunch at The Pickled Sisters Cafe on Main Street in Rutherglen. Try The Pickled Sisters Vineyard Platter, which includes a unique Muscat of Rutherglen chicken liver pâté with turmeric and fennel pickles, or a more substantial main course if you're hungry. There's also Footsteps @ Cofield Wines, where you can enjoy a mouthwatering bite out on the lawn.
If you're here on a Saturday, you'll want to dine at KIN restaurant at All Saints – reservations are recommended. The menu is inspired by family recipes, with produce sourced locally and within the Estate.
Alternatively, sample fine-dining at Tuileries at De Bortoli Rutherglen Estate. Match your rolled quail breast, twice-baked three-cheese soufflé, or roasted duck breast with the vineyard's wines. Located on the edge of the Rutherglen township, the wine bar and restaurant is within easy walking distance of most accommodation in town.
Pick up a self-guided historical walking tour brochure to explore the 1872 Common School Museum and 1864 Stephen’s Rectory, as well as several goldrush-era Victorian pubs.
Alternatively, hire bikes for the day. Check in with the Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre to see if bikes are available, or hire an eBike from a local company. You can follow the dedicated Pedal to Produce trail, or take a detour on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail.
Check into Moodemere Lake House and enjoy the sounds of abundant bird species and native wildlife, which are regular visitors to the property. Mount Ophir Winery and Vineyard was once the biggest winery in the Southern Hemisphere and has been fully restored. Relax in your accommodation in an untouched rural setting, including the majestic tower.
Or for an eco-friendly experience, check into the Jones Tiny House. The self-contained cottage has views over surrounding farmland, out to Rutherglen's landmark wine bottle.
Always be sure to enjoy Victoria's wine regions safely with a designated driver.