This past weekend Luke and I went camping up on the Victoria/New South Wales* border, in a small little town that the 9-to-5 rush forgot. We tagged along with some friends from work who were starting a 2.5 week camping adventure up in that area, and camped with them on their first stop in the scenic little wine region that is Rutherglen. What’s the best way to do a wine tour when you don’t have a designated driver? Obviously it’s by bicycles rented from the town info centre!
There are over 15 wineries in the Rutherglen region, but we got so carried away listening to the winery employees tell us about each wine (and then letting us taste them all, naturally) that we only made it to 3. Follow-up trip required? You bet.
I haven’t done a proper wine tour before, but I knew to expect a lot of wine and a bit of dehydration given the 30 degree temperatures. What I didn’t expect was the amount of wine knowledge I’d come away with! That glass-swirling thing you do with red wine? I totally get it now (though I actually prefer the non-aerated taste of the tannins in red wine). That oaky taste everyone talks about (and by everyone I mean whoever writes the wine labels)? Yep, I can recognise it now – and avoid it, not my fave. The best thing I came away with this weekend was the knowledge of a new type of wine that I’d never even heard of before: a Durif. It’s a really heavy, very tannin-y wine (technical term?) that gives you that tang or mouth dryness that you get with reds. And also, I love it! We took a bottle home and enjoyed it in mugs with our BBQ dinner, as you do on a camping wine tour, right?
The rest of the weekend was filled with stereotypical country-Australia moments, like counting kangaroo road kill on the highway (more than 30 – imagine what they’d do to your car!), being kept awake by a crazy possum outside our tent, eating pies for breakfast, and enjoying the incredible hospitality of the Aussie people. I’ve definitely vowed to make camping a more regular thing, particularly when there’s wine tasting involved, and I can definitely see myself doing the 3hr drive back up to Rutherglen in the future. It was a great chance to get out of the city for a break, and to experience more of Victoria.
*For you non-Aussies, Victoria is the state that Melbourne is in, and New South Wales is the state that Sydney calls home!