Escape 7: Best things to do in Victoria's Rutherglen region

Best wine experiences

One of the highlights of Rutherglen is that all 19 wineries in the Rutherglen region are family-owned. So, when you arrive at a winery you are most likely going to meet the maker, viticulturist, owner and the winery dog!

The region is made up of old family companies like Chambers, Jones and Killeen. New kids on the block, James & Co and Olive Hills have injected a breath of fresh air into one of the oldest wine regions in Australia.

Rutherglen’s generational change and innovation have attracted two of the largest family wine companies to invest in the region in the last five years, Casella (Morris Wines) and DeBortoli (Rutherglen Estate) wines.

Best coffee

There is a main street dual with the best coffee in Rutherglen, but my pick is The Other Place owned by Coxy, larger than life character, always consistent and always a bunch of laughs when you visit.

Best breakfast

Valentine’s Bakery has just opened their beautiful new store in the main street of Rutherglen, stylish, open and super friendly.

They also offer a long brunch with of course a choice of ‘pick-me-up’ wines and cocktails.

Best pie

After a big weekend of drinking fine Rutherglen wine, gourmet meals and a little bike ride, Parkers Pies is the place to go on Sunday before you head home. Usually a line out the door to secure a kangaroo pie, or my favourite, a chunky beef. There have been many happy Parkers customers over Covid- 19 who also enjoyed the home delivery option online, the Parkers boys drove them to Melbourne themselves.

Best place to stay

There are an amazing array of accommodation experiences in Rutherglen, from Mount Ophir Estateto one of my favourites and new established five-star accommodation Basq. Four villas, superb interiors and a perfect main street location which means you can walk to your restaurant of choice. Michele and Michael Hepburn are also brilliant hosts.

Best walk/ride

Saturday’s morning you find most of the locals on the Rutherglen to Wahgunyah Rail Trail, either riding bikes or (hiring e-bikes), walking or running the 7.5km track. The most appealing thing is it’s flat and its fantastic for kids if they have little legs and lots of energy. If you don’t have a bike you can hire them from the Information Centre or Caffeine and Machine, a brand new café in the main street of Rutherglen.

Best view

The ‘big wine bottle’, or Rutherglen’s old water tower was transformed in the seventies for promotion of the town.

This big wine idea is also the best place to take a bottle and watch the sunset from the highest point in the region with someone you love.

This article was originally published 5 February 2021 by Escape writers