Tastes of Rutherglen festival tops promising vintage 2018

RUTHERGLEN winemakers will be knee-deep in vintage as the annual Tastes of Rutherglen festival rolls around this weekend.

Lake Moodemere Estate sixth-generation winemaker Michael Chambers said most winegrowers were about halfway through vintage.

He said while tonnages might have been slightly down, quality was first-rate.

“Last season was excellent and this season will be right up there with it,” he said.

“We got worried when we had that 10 days of hot weather but we all got through that.

“The weather has cooled down now and the beautiful cool nights are ideal for ripening.

“We just don’t want any rain until April.”

Warrabilla Wines fifth-generation winemaker Andrew Sutherland Smith said Rutherglen got the latest autumn break of any region in the country.

Mr Sutherland Smith said he was prepared to wait for maximum ripeness to produce his vineyard’s specialty full-bodied, red table wines.

"We've not picked a red berry yet but we're getting close," he said.

“Good things come to those who wait and great things come to those who wait longer!”

Mr Sutherland Smith planted 4 hectares of durif over summer, taking his total plantings of the varietal to almost 10 hectares.

He said the thin-skinned, tightly-bunched, botrytis-prone durif was not without risks.

“You've got to be prepared to lose it,” he said.

“Durif has become a Rutherglen specialty though; everybody’s making it in all different styles.”

Nineteen Rutherglen wineries will team up with North East chefs to present the annual gourmet food and wine festival, Tastes of Rutherglen, on Saturday and Sunday.

Festival admission price covers both days. It includes an entry wristband, festival glass, winery entry, tastings and entertainment.

A winery shuttle bus ticket includes unlimited access to the hop on/hop off shuttle buses going around to all wineries on three different routes.

Bus travellers can use the complimentary wine check-in service. Wine purchases checked-in with the bus driver can be collected from Rutherglen Wine Experience at the end of the day.