At Mount Ophir Estate, in Victoria’s Rutherglen wine region, guests can stay in more permanent but no less romantic lodgings: a three-storey French Provincial-style tower, built in 1903.

 

The Tower has been transformed into a luxury getaway with a whitewashed, chandelier-lit dining room on the ground floor, a wrought-iron spiral staircase climbing to a lounge on the second floor (where bookshelves trace the curved walls); and a bedroom and bathroom up a set of steep timber treads on the third.

 

On this top level, there’s an urge to spin around the room like a whirling dervish. Or at least flit from window to window to drink in the 360-degree views of the estate and surrounding plains.

 

The property itself has a colourful past. Established as a farm and vineyard in 1891, the 300-hectare estate was bought – and the winery and tower added – by leading London wine merchants, the Burgoynes. At one point, they were the biggest wine supplier in the southern hemisphere, with ambitions to become the wine capital of Australia – but it wasn’t to be.

 

Under new owners, in 1955, the estate was reduced to 57 hectares, the winery closed and vineyard razed. In the 1990s, it was sold again and the vineyard restored, with shiraz, durif and muscat planted.

 

In 2016, it changed hands once more. Eliza, Angela and Nicholas Brown, owners of the nearby All Saints and St Leonards wineries, bought and restored the property in fulfilment of the wishes of their late father Peter Brown, of the renowned Brown Brothers wine family. Along with the tower, two homes and three cottages have been converted to guest lodgings, sleeping from two to 20 people. There are also plans to convert the barrel halls into event spaces.

 

“The region needed a unique selling point,” says chief executive Eliza Brown.

 

“We see the tower as a bucket-list thing.”

 

The family is also reinstating the Mount Ophir wine label, with three hectares under vine. “We picked shiraz for the first time this year,” says winemaker Nicholas Brown.

 

While the estate doesn’t have a cellar door, guests are surrounded by wineries. Boutique Scion Wine, for instance, is only eight kilometres away, while All Saints and St Leonards are less than 20 kilometres.

 

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Check out Mount Ophir Estate