Rutherglen Wine Region

The Rutherglen Wine Region in North East Victoria has achieved iconic status with its fortified wines.

It has also been associated with big, full bodied long-lived red wines, a style that has gone out of fashion.

But things are changing...

Fortified wines ageing in Campbells WineryFortified wines ageing in Campbells Winery

In more recent years a range of new varieties and styles have been made, with considerable success.

You will now find Italian varieties as well as the classic port varieties from the Iberian peninsula.

As the big, robust and highly tannic red wines characteristic of Rutherglen have become less popular a few wineries have begun making sparkling red wines. This style has not attracted universal approval, but it certainly has its enthusiasts.

History of the Rutherglen Region

Stanton and Killeen is one of the oldest wineries in the Rutherglen regionStanton and Killeen is one of the oldest wineries in the Rutherglen region

The wine industry was established in the middle of the nineteenth century. Unlike many other Victorian wine regions, Rutherglen escaped the Phylloxera pest, and was able to survive the fall in popularity of table wines by developing a specialty in fortified wine.

Many wineries around in this wine region have been in the same family for several generations and are housed in historic gold era buildings that provide an appropriate setting to taste the venerable wines.

Many of the winery buildings, including those at All Saints, Gehrig Estate, Mount Prior and Pfeiffer, are well worth visiting for their architectural interest, quite apart from the superb table and fortified wines.

The fortified wines of Rutherglen are undoubtedly of world class quality. Rutherglen Ports* and Sherries* matched it with all but the best of the Iberian wines of those styles. But the region's unique gifts to the world are the Muscats and Tokays* which have no equal.

*In the modern era this terminology is no longer used.  To comply with modern international naming these wines are now called Vintage fortified, Apera and Topaque

Alternative grape varieites in the Rutherglen Wine RegionImage from Warrabilla Tasting Room

Alternative varieties in the rutherglen region

  • All Saints Estate Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Durif, Marsanne, Muscadelle, Orange Muscat, Prosecco, Roussanne, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Tempranillo
  • Anderson Winery Chenin Blanc, Durif, Muscadelle, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Saperavi, Tempranillo
  • Arlo Vintners Cinsaut, Durif, Gamay, Mondeuse, Petit Verdot, Pinot Blanc, Tannat, Trebbiano
  • Bullers Calliope Biancone, Cinsaut, Durif, Marsanne, Mondeuse, Muscadelle, Pedro Ximenez, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Vermentino
  • Calico Town Barbera, Durif, Nebbiolo, Orange Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Prosecco, Sangiovese, Saperavi, Trebbiano
  • Campbells Wines Caracosa, Cornifesto, Chenin Blanc, Durif, Fiano, Graciano, Malbec, Marsanne, Melon, Mondeuse, Muscadelle, Negramoll, Negrette, Pavarella, Pedro Ximenez, Roussanne, Ruby Cabernet, Souzao, Tarrango, Tempranillo, Tinto Cao, Trebbiano, Trincadeira
  • Chambers Rosewood Caracosa, Cornifesto, Cinsaut, Durif, Gouais Blanc, Graciano, Mondeuse, Muscadelle, Palomino, Roussanne, Tempranillo, Tinto Cao, Touriga
  • Cofield Wines Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Durif, Gamay, Malbec, Marsanne, Muscadelle, Prosecco, Sangiovese, Vermentino
  • De Bertolis Estates Arneis, Durif, Fiano, Marsanne, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tempranillo, Zinfandel
  • Glenbosch Estate Durif, Petit Manseng, Saperavi, Trebbiano
  • James and Co Sangiovese
  • Jones Winery and Vineyard Fiano, Malbec, Marsanne, Pedro Ximenez, Roussanne, Trebbiano
  • Lake Moodemere Biancone, Cinsaut, Durif
  • Memento Wines Durif, Sangiovese, Zinfandel
  • Morris Cinsaut, Durif, Malbec, Muscadelle, Palomino, Trebbiano
  • Mount Prior Durif, Muscadelle
  • Olive Hills Estate Durif, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Touriga
  • Pfeiffer Wines Cabernet Sanzey, Gamay, Malbec, Marsanne, Muscadelle, Palomino, Tempranillo, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao
  • Scion Vineyard Durif, Orange Muscat
  • St Leonards Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Durif, Orange Muscat
  • Stanton and Killeen Wines Arinto, Albarino, Durif, Muscadelle, Souzao, Tempranillo, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao, Touriga
  • Trahna Wines Durif, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo
  • Valhalla Durif, Marsanne, Roussanne
  • Warrabilla Wines Durif, Malbec, Marsanne, Moscato
Updated 11 May 2021

Victorian wineries on Pinterest

I have a Pinboard showing some of the wineries in Victoria who use alternative varieties.

Want to learn More About Australian Wine regions?

visiting the rutherglen region

The region is centred around the town of Rutherglen and is bounded on the north by the Murray River. Other towns within the region include Wahgunyah and Chiltern, and immediately across the river in New South Wales is the substantial town of Corowa. 

While it is feasible to visit the region as a day trip from Melbourne you will enjoy yourself more if you stay a night or two.

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