Superb wines and the finest North East food on the menu at Rutherglen

Superb wines, the finest North East food and summer-like sunshine lured thousands to the annual Tastes of Rutherglen gourmet festival at the weekend.

Nineteen Rutherglen wineries opened their cellar doors and North East chefs presented everything from slow roasted pork and tempranillo infused lamb shoulder to muscat and moscato infused desserts.

Participating venues saw a steady flow of patrons across the two days in what is tailored to appeal to those wanting to learn about wine and food matching.

“We like to think of it as a weekend people graduate to,” said highly regarded Rutherglen winemaker Chris Pfeiffer.

“There’s quite a bit of thought gone into the dishes and the wines that goes with them.”

The two-day festival also included events such as exclusive wine master classes and behind the scene cellar door tours.

Rutherglen’s newest cellar door – Rutherglen Estates – hosted A Toast to Arts event on March 10 which involved a tour of the winery’s new Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery and cellar door. 

It started with canapes in the grapevines at Tuileries, followed by a three-course meal matched to Rutherglen Estates wines.

Other highlights included dinner under the stars and A Night On The Red at Buller Wines, featuring a 70s theme with music from GTR and Jimi In A Bottle – and denim flares, big hair and your body shirts.

The Victorian Labour Day weekend event also coincides with the annual vintage, with all Rutherglen wineries a hive of actives in the vines as well as the cellar door.

Mr Pfeiffer said this year’s vintage was in full swing, with most of the white varieties off.

“Everything happens at this time of the year. The way vintage has moved earlier, we’re probably approaching halfway,” he said.

“We’ll finish our whites this coming week and we really got heavily into our reds during the past week. It is busy, but you make hay while the sun shines.”

Winery Walkabout will be held June 9-10.