A LANDMARK winery and Aboriginal arts project at Rutherglen is tapping into a global trend for immersive tourism experiences.
Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery at Rutherglen Estates, which was launched on Thursday, is a union between the iconic winery and major Aboriginal arts collector, Hans Sip.
The 1880s winery building has been respectfully renovated to house the new cellar door and art gallery.
Rutherglen Estates general manager and chief winemaker Marc Scalzo said the new gallery allowed visitors to enjoy immersive and memorable wine and art experiences.
He said the idea came about 18 months ago in talks with Benalla-based art curator Jamie Durrant.
“We were just kicking around some ideas for the new cellar door space, and now 700 canvases and artefacts later, we are privileged to be part of a collaboration that helps carry the Aboriginal culture forward, for each generation to understand and appreciate,” he said.
Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery director Hans Sip said he couldn’t imagine a better home for his collection.
“Over the past 18 months our common purpose was to create an immersive experience for cellar door visitors,” he said.
“A seamless fusion of cutting-edge cellar door and state-of-the-art gallery, has achieved that.”
The opening exhibition Dhungala - Trevor Turbo Brown and Craig Charles represents artists from Yorta Yorta and Latje Latje lands.
Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery curator Jamie Durrant said the gallery was one of the most significant Aboriginal arts and winery tourism projects in Australia.
“The collection is unique in that Hans Sip maintains close personal connections to the artists and their families,” he said.
“I’m blown away by the enormous possibilities pertaining to preparing class-leading exhibitions that are set to draw large crowds from national and international audiences.”
Mr Sip said the opening exhibition was a dream come true.
“Craig and Turbo have both passed on so this show becomes something of a tribute,” he said.
“They were both from the Murray region and it’s fitting they were the artists who were put up first.
“Craig had a Master of Fine Arts and Turbo had an immediacy when he painted; the contrast between the two styles is what makes this exhibition.”
The exhibitions will change quarterly and future gallery programs will include Wine and Art Conversations and artists-in-residence workshops.
Dhungala - Trevor Turbo Brown and Craig Charles runs until January 25.
Part of the Tuileries Complex, 13 Drummond Street, Rutherglen Estates cellar door opens daily 10am-5.30pm.