A unique climate, commitment, endurance, skill, innovation and accident have coalesced in Rutherglen to create incredibly complex, unique, world renowned wines and a wine region culture which has a deep soul, a sense of history and purpose, and a dose of good old fashioned bush humour and hospitality.
Rutherglen has the same heat degree days summation as the Clare Valley in South Australia (1770), and the same sunshine hours as the Gold Coast in Queensland. This combination of great sunshine and not too hot not too cold allows many grape varieties to develop the full flavours for which Rutherglen wines are so famous. Cool nights, warm days and a normally long dry autumn, allow Muscat and Tokay grapes to achieve high levels of sweetness and flavour. Rutherglen reds such as Shiraz and Durif develop a rich core of fruit, and firm natural tannin structure which combine to make them great cellaring wines, and enable them to be made into powerful vintage, and complex tawny ports.
The great fortified wines and full flavoured table wines for which the region is famous, are grown on a band of loam (locally called Rutherglen loam), on the lower slopes of the gentle local hills. This snakes its way around the centre and extends to the east, west and south of the township of Rutherglen. Another entirely different soil type is "'Black Dog fine sandy loam" which is found around the wineries closer to the River Murray. The predominant subsoil is classed as medium heavy clay, that which is associated with gold mining.
Great examples of Sparkling Shiraz, Pinot Chardonnay, flavourful and long lived Riesling, Marsanne and Chardonnay, Sangiovese, and Gamay attest to the successful application of modern winemaking and viticultural techniques learnt, developed and embraced over the years. The Winemakers of Rutherglen have their own specialist vine nursery and meet on a monthly basis at Senior and Junior Vignerons Dinners, where wine styles from around the world are analysed, discussed and inevitably consumed. Many winemakers, viticulturalists and journalists from around the globe attend these dinners. Some leave with a clear head the next morning.