Rutherglen is one of Victoria's ultimate wine and food destinations, boasting over 20 award-winning wineries, outstanding restaurants and cafes, and world-class local produce. Also home to some of the most picturesque camping, fishing, cycling, swimming and boating locations in Australia, Rutherglen is a truly perfect holiday destination.
Whether you want to cycle along historical rail trails, discover our world-famous Muscat, try our exquisite local olives and chocolate, picnic at our luscious gardens or just relax at a peaceful camping spot, we've got it all.
Welcome to Rutherglen, we look forward to showing you around our gorgeous slice of Victoria's North East!
Rutherglen Wine Experience & Information Centre
57 Main Street, Rutherglen, Victoria, 3685
Rutherglen Winery Walkabout
To get the most from your visit, make the Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre your first port of call. Talk to the local full time and volunteer staff, who know the region and its wines very well, too well in some cases.
Discover which roads to take and who can take you, the best picnic spots on the Murray River, and what is happening when, where and why. Find out where to eat, drink and party, where to stay and where to swim, ride, play golf and relax.
Rutherglen is a rural township in north-eastern Victoria about 8 km. from the Murray River, north of Wangaratta. It is situated in undulating country with no nearby stream, as its location arose from the discovery of gold. The nearest town, which is on the Murray River, is Wahgunyah, which predated Rutherglen by about five years.
Rutherglen is in the Wahgunyah pastoral run taken up by John Foord in 1841. In 1856 Foord laid out his private Wahgunyah township on the river, ultimately developing it as a river port and trans-shipment centre for the district. In 1860 the Wahgunyah Rush township grew among a gold field discovered about ten kilometres to the south-east. A hotel proprietor, John Wallace, brought a hotel building to the goldfield and the growing township was named after his Scottish birthplace, Rutherglen.
Within a year it was estimated that the population of the Rutherglen gold diggings was upwards of 10,000. A school was opened opposite Wallace's Star Hotel in October, 1860, along with Catholic, Presbyterian and Congregational churches. By 1862 the easily won gold was petering out and by 1864 there were fewer than 800 miners. A substitute industry was emerging, however, with over ten vignerons being recorded in the district in 1865. Their plantings occupied only sixteen hectares, but by 1880 plantings occupied over 400 hectares and by 1886 they occupied 1,200 hectares. In 1886 fifty vineyards employed 1,870 people.
In 1862, when the Rutherglen township had a high mining population, it was proclaimed a borough. The surrounding area, as far afield as Wangaratta, was proclaimed the Rutherglen Road District. Its area, reduced in size, became Rutherglen shire on 16 June, 1871. Both the borough and the shire councils had offices in the Rutherglen township.
As viticulture grew, deep lead gold mining also revived after dormancy in the 1870s. There was thus steady growth in both the borough and the shire. Between 1880 and 1900 the main mines were between Rutherglen and Chiltern, including North Prentice, Great Northern, Great Southern and Chiltern Valley. The mining activity absorbed timber, which created a local industry and cleared land for future farming. In 1879 the railway passed through Rutherglen when a branch line was opened between Springhurst and Wahgunyah.
During the 1880s vineyards in southern Victoria were uprooted as the phylloxera infestation spread, In 1888, ten years before the infestation reached Rutherglen, a viticultrual college was proposed on land between Rutherglen and Chiltern. By then north-east Victoria had over 60% of total vineyard plantings in the colony. The college was opened in 1897, two years before phylloxera was identified at Rutherglen. The college bred resistant American root stock and the replacement of diseased vineyards was undertaken.
Mining continued during the first two decades of the 1900s, but despite increased production, higher costs depressed dividends. Deep lead mining penetrated the water table, and water pumping became an insuperable cost. Agriculture diversified, and the viticultural college added cereal production and animal husbandry to its activities. Annual field days and the Rutherglen Agricultural Show were well attended. While Rutherglen recovered from the phylloxera infestation South Australian wine makers took much of its overseas and local markets. As a consequence Rutherglen wine producers functioned in a difficult market and their exports were mainly confined to sweet fortified wines in competition with Portugal and Spain. The revival of the wine industry awaited the 1960s. Cereal production and sheep increasingly took up Rutherglen's farm activity.
In 1967 the first Rutherglen Wine Festival was held. It was replaced with the Winery Walkabout in 1973, mainly to avoid anti-social behaviour in the town. Long-standing vineyards include Chambers Rosewood, Seppelts, Campbell's, Stanton and Killeen, Jones, Bullers, and Morris' at Browns Plains. Revived vineyards include Mount Prior and Fairfield. Burgoyne's Mt. Ophir vineyard, once one of the largest has not been revived, but its brick buildings and tower (1891-1903) are on the Australian and Victorian historic buildings registers. The vineyards produce a comprehensive range of table and fortified wines, and the region is best known for its muscats, tokays and ports.
Rutherglen township has a population of about 2,000 persons. It has a shopping centre, three hotels, four motels, a caravan park, hospital, State secondary and primary schools, ovals and a showground, a golf course, a horse-training track, several sports clubs, an industrial estate and grain sheds and silos. The railway line carries freight only.
In 1994 Rutherglen shire had 367 ha. planted with grapevines, producing over 2,000 tonnes of grapes. Nearly 7,000 tonnes of wheat were grown, and over 4,200 hectares were grown for cereals. Grazing included over 12,000 head of meat cattle and 54,000 sheep and lambs. On 18 November, 1994, the shire (which absorbed the borough in 1920), was united with most of Beechworth, Chiltern and Yackandandah shires to form Indigo shire.
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 57 Main Street Rutherglen | Map
✆ 1800 622 871
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Rutherglen 3685
❊ Also See... ❊
→ Rutherglen Agricultural Show 2020
→ Rutherglen Wineries
Tweets by rutherglenvic
❊ COVID-19 Notice ❊Many locations have gone into lockdown as the state takes action to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
→ Disclaimer: Check with the operator before making plans...
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