Where

The world-famous Rutherglen wine region in Victoria is just a three-hour drive from Melbourne. Come for an authentic rural experience, complete with warm hospitality. 

What to expect

Rutherglen is acclaimed around the world for its fortified wines led by Muscat of Rutherglen. It's impossible to replicate as it contains the essence and artistry of multiple generations.

Here, there’s time to take your time, to 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.

Best for

Soak up the region’s long history of winemaking and meet the families behind Muscat of Rutherglen.
 

The experience

  • See the beauty of a wide, green and clean landscape and a night sky that sparkles like diamonds.
  • Hear bush sounds in the woodlands along the banks of the mighty Murray River - habitat to birds, rare barking owls and sugargliders.
  • Find locally made garments, crafts, homewares and garden art at stores and cellar doors across the region.
  • Taste history straight from century-old muscat barrels, call in at farm gates, pubs and eateries, and enjoy down-to-earth hospitality.

Find out more

winemakers.com.au/muscat-of-rutherglen

Enjoy Victoria's wine regions safely with a designated driver.

  • 9.00am

    Pick up your rental car and depart your Melbourne hotel.

    10.30am

    If travelling 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.

    11.30am

    It’s back in the car – it will take about an hour and a half to drive to Rutherglen.

    1.00pm

    Arrive at Campbells Wines, founded in 1870 and located three kilometres west of the Rutherglen township. This is one of the region’s most lauded practitioners of the fortified art. But first enjoy a lunch of a vineyard platter of cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and, of course, a glass of wine. The winery’s front lawns offer a perfect setting for an impromptu picnic.

    Alternatively, enjoy lunch at The Pickled Sisters Cafe at Cofield Wines, Wahgunyah, where you can dine alfresco on the deck or inside overlooking the barrel room. 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.

    Time to meet the Campbells Wines’ friendly cellar door staff and enjoy 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. Learn more about Muscat of Rutherglen with a tutored classification tasting exploring the main tiers of the classification, which was created by Muscat of Rutherglen winemakers, headed by the late Colin Campbell, in 1998.

    3.00pm

    Explore more on to visit to Stanton and Killeen Wines, where you'll get a palpable sense not only of Rutherglen but Australian wine history. The Stantons were the original vignerons and the partnership was formed when Norm Killeen married Joan Stanton and 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.

    5.00pm

    Drive to your nearby overnight accommodation at Moodemere Lake House. Situated on Lake Moodemere Estate and Lakeside Restaurant, a working vineyard and farm, the self-contained guest house enjoys uninterrupted views of the lake. Check in and enjoy the sounds of abundant bird species and native wildlife, which are regular visitors to the property. Plus, the sunsets are amazing.

    7.00pm

    Take a drive into Rutherglen for dinner at Taste At Rutherglen, open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday. Taste specialises in modern Australian fare using local ingredients such as Milawa duck, Murray Valley pork and seasonal vegetables from the chef's kitchen garden. The restaurant regularly hosts local winemaker dinners and is also home to the boutique Rutherglen Brewery.

    9.00pm

    Head back to your luxury accommodation and rest up for your next day of touring.
  • 8.00am

    Pack your bags and enjoy a leisurely cooked or continental breakfast at Lake Moodemere Estate from included provisions such as estate-grown preserves before driving to Rutherglen.

    9.10am

    Arriving in Rutherglen, 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. 

    10.30am

    Grab a coffee at James & Co. in Main Street, Rutherglen.

    11.00am

    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. Savour tastings of Chambers' fortifieds – including the rare muscat – awarded a perfect 100/100 points in the early 2000s by legendary founder of The Wine Advocate Robert Parker, who described them as “nothing less than national treasures.

    12.30pm

    It’s back in the car to head to The Wicked Virgin Boutique Winery for lunch. This eatery is run by John and Laurel Nowacki who – in addition to a range of olive oils and their boutique wines under the Calico Town Wines label – offer delicious light lunches, tea, coffee and cakes from their converted shearing shed.

    2.00pm

    Hit the road for more muscat 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. Sample some local flavours at the excellent [email protected] Wines restaurant overlooking the iconic Calliope Vineyard; it's run by the team behind [email protected] and Rutherglen Brewery.

    4.00pm

    Gear up for your accommodation at Mount Ophir Winery and Vineyard. The largely untouched 1891 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. Take a stroll around the estate, soaking up the natural surrounds before dinner. 

    7.00pm

    If you're here on a Saturday, you'll want to dine at the Terrace Restaurant at All Saints – reservations are recommended. This popular dining spot was awarded a coveted chef’s hat (the Australian equivalent of a Michelin star) in the 2019 Good Food Guide and is very much in demand.

    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 De Bortoli Rutherglen Estate wines. Located on the edge of the Rutherglen township, the wine bar and restaurant is within easy walking distance of most accommodation in town.

  • 8.00am

    Breakfast in the comfort of your accommodation on locally made muesli, breads and yoghurt that you picked up the day before.  

    9.00am

    Head to the Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre in Main Street to hire bikes for the day and start limbering up.

    10.30am

    Pull up at your first stop: Jones Winery and Vineyard, a multi-generational wine producer run by experienced winemaker Mandy Jones and her brother, Arthur. Enjoy a cellar door muscat tasting.

    12.00pm

    Dine French country style at Jones Winery Restaurant, open Thursday to Sunday and recently named in the prestigious Good Food Guide 2020, which recognises Australia’s top restaurants. Co-owner and winemaker Mandy has a strong French food and wine background. Chef Briony Bradford creates wonderful imaginative offerings, from confit carrot tarte tatin to caramelised ox tongue and Riverina duck leg roulade.

    You can also arrange picnic hampers (with 24-hours’ notice) or enjoy one of the monthly special dinners.

    1.30pm

    After lunch, the direction of your bike tour is up to you. Continue to follow the Pedal to Produce, or take a detour on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail to Wahgunyah and All Saints. Alternatively, return to Rutherglen and visit Morris Wines in the afternoon.

    2.00pm

    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 – perfect hiding place for old stocks – but fifth generation winemaker David Morris knows the identity of every single one. Explore the cellar door centrepiece, the glass-lined atrium designed by legendary Australian architect, Robyn Boyd. Complete a magical day with a tasting of Morris muscat.

    3.00pm

    Depart for Melbourne, taking in a few last Rutherglen settings at the Murray River, including pausing at Rowers Park beside the historic John Ford Bridge. It’s about a three-hour drive back to the city, so you should be checking into your hotel just in time to enjoy dinner at one of the city’s hot dining spots.