Rutherglen is one Australia’s most historic wine regions – not to mention being home to some of the country’s most important winemaking families – this is, after all, the birthplace of some of the world’s greatest fortified wines. But muscat and tokay is not all you’ll discover here, with wineries also producing exceptional table wines, from robust durif and shiraz, along with new wave alternatives like marsanne, roussanne, gamay and sangiovese.
Just an hour’s drive from Rutherglen, you’ll find yourself worlds away in the King Valley. The region’s Italian heritage shines through in its wine experiences – get ready to indulge in some of Australia’s best prosecco and Mediterranean varieties – along with its family hospitality. Expect to feel welcomed like a family member, not just a visitor. Here’s some inspiration for this stunning part of north east Victoria.
Rutherglen is about a three-hour drive from Melbourne; four from Canberra. Set your GPS to De Bortoli’s Rutherglen Estate Cellar Door, where you’ll be settling in for your first afternoon in the region. The De Bortoli Cellar Door is a great introduction to Rutherglen, so take your time with a tasting through their portfolio. There’s plenty to do here, too; the estate is home to not only the cellar door, but also an art gallery and the Tuileries restaurant, showcasing some of the region’s best produce. There’s also the Tuileries accommodation – so when we say settle in, we really mean it!
Spend the following morning at Buller Wines’ cellar door, who are in 2021 celebrating their centenary anniversary. The warming, rustic cellar door is the perfect place for a tasting of their award-winning range, including the Balladeer Cinsaut and Calliope Shiraz. Take a stroll around the estate ground or enjoy a tour – you might be lucky enough to taste their muscat straight from the barrel. If you’re a gin fan, you’re also sorted with the Three Chain Roads Gins tasting, which features the handiwork of head winemaker David Whyte. Grab lunch at the Ripe@Buller restaurant for a seasonal meal overlooking the vines, or build your own platter to enjoy on the estate grounds.
It’s time to head to the King Valley, with just an hour drive via Federation Way. Your first King Valley destination is Darling Wines in Whitfield. It’s a family affair here, with winemaker John Darling and his daughter Grace at the helm crafting small-batch wines from their estate vineyards. The cellar door is a quaint, inviting space for your tasting, where you can relax for the afternoon surrounded by the estate vines. You can expect to try King Valley classics like prosecco, but also find yourself deep diving into some alternative varieties like gamay, garganega, nebbiolo and aligoté.
For your last day in the King Valley, your first stop is Red Feet Wines. The boutique winery is another family-owned operation, with the Star siblings of Damien, Vince and Megan running the winemaking and management of the brand. Enjoy a tasting of the Red Feet range at the cellar door, which features wines from their King Valley estate vineyards. Last stop of your Victorian wine adventure is the Pizzini cellar door. There’s plenty to do here at Pizzini, with an abundance of tastings, masterclasses, tours and more on offer, along with cooking school sessions with Katrina Pizzini herself – the perfect way to round out your visit.