Last Friday, my friend Emily and I hit the road to head to the historical town of Rutherglen.
Rutherglen is approximately three and a half hours out of Melbourne, and is home to some of the finest food and dining experiences in Victoria. It was lovely to shrug off the stresses of the city and enjoy a true weekend of decadence!
Emily and I fell in love with our accommodation as soon as we checked in. We stayed in the delightful self-contained Garden Studios at Carlyle House. Carlyle House is the perfect setting for a weekend in Rutherglen, with the option of staying in either the beautifully restored house or in the separate Garden Studios.
On Saturday morning we dressed in our best and joined all of the chaps, dandies and bon vivants for the Tweed Ride. (After all, what is a Tweed Ride without the vintage tweeds?) The Tweed Ride is a 25 kilometre cycling adventure that takes you through the picturesque countryside, and allows you to sample the best food and wine of the region. We were treated to a continental champagne brunch, a French-inspired lunch alongside the Murray and a lazy afternoon tea of fine cheeses and fortified wines and muscats.
I was also asked to pick six finalists for the “Best Dressed” competition. This had to be the hardest part of the day, because everyone made an effort and looked amazing.
In the end, Ann and Darren took home the crown (or in this case, wine) – Ann for her fabulous touches of mustard and Darren for his ingenuity with some racing goggles, helmut and a wired scarf.
I loved discovering the region on bike. For the more experienced riders, the Murray to Mountains rail trail offers over 100 kilometres of sealed off road trails to explore.
Top places to visit in and around Rutherglen:
All Saints Estate – an iconic estate (complete with a turreted castle) that has been producing award-winning wines for 150 years. The estate is worth the visit just to see the castle and grounds, but when you throw in the selection of wines, food and cheese for sampling it becomes a must-see destination.
The Pickled Sisters Cafe – owned by the lovely Marion Hansford and Stewart Gilchrist, it is partly their welcoming atmosphere that keeps enticing people back. The cafe is set in the grounds of Cofield Wines, and it’s a great spot to indulge in some brunch before moving onto the wine tastings!
Jones Winery and Vineyard – visit the cellar door, sample the French-themed food in Jones’ Cafe or arrange for a special tasting.
Thousand Pound Bar – if you haven’t had enough wine yet, pop in to Rutherglen’s new wine bar and store.