A unique climate, commitment, and innovation have united in Rutherglen to create incredibly complex, unparalleled, world-class wines. Rutherglen’s wine making culture is defined by strong heritage, a sense of history and purpose, and a dose of good old-fashioned hospitality.
Many of Rutherglen’s great winemaking businesses began in the gold rush era of the mid-19th century, some of which are still family owned enterprises managed by fourth, fifth and sixth generation descendants. With this much history, Rutherglen is a truly unique Australian winemaking region, where multiple generations of the same hard-working families have left their stamp on our country’s winemaking history.
Famous for their distinctive fortified wines, Rutherglen is home to wine stocks that date back to World War II, and our decadent and multifaceted Muscats and Topaques are revered the world over. Our winemakers are also pushing the envelope in the development of award-winning table wines such as playful sparkling reds, aromatic Rhone whites and bold Durifs, making Rutherglen one of Australia’s ultimate destinations for wine connoisseurs.
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 weather 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 renowned are grown on a band of 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 Murray River. 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 Rousanne, 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 Vignerons Dinners, where wine styles from around the world are analysed, discussed and inevitably consumed. The Winemakers of Rutherglen pride themselves on an environment which encourages education and experimentation for our winemakers, always pushing the envelope to develop the next generation of renowned, award-winning wines.