Tastes Of Rutherglen
By Jen Pfeiffer
March means two things to me – vintage and Tastes of Rutherglen. For as long as I can remember, Tastes of Rutherglen has been held over 2 weekends in March, a celebration of Rutherglen wine, food and produce.
The Tastes of Rutherglen festival attracts a lot of tourists to the region, but it is also a great festival for the locals. There is so much to see and do at the participating wineries, and there is a terrific atmosphere around, it makes for an opportune time to visit.
Each participating winery teams up with leading chefs from the region to create a culinary experience – a delicious dish matched perfectly to a specially selected wine from that winery. Participants can journey gastronomically around the wineries, enjoying a variety of meals and wines, as well as the vast array of live music.
When I was a little girl, I used to help at the winery, washing glasses, selling souvenirs and making my parents peanut butter sandwiches for their lunch (which I think they only got to at about 6 o’clock that night when the doors were closed!!!).
I clearly remember that on every Sunday of Tastes of Rutherglen, we would always be incredibly busy. We were so busy because we were the only winery at that time to offer dessert as a culinary experience. Originally, we teamed up with Mrs Mouse’s Tea House, and we had some very memorable desserts like Tokay nougat icecream, Mrs Mouse’s rich chocolate mousse and who could forget everyone’s favourite the Drunken Peaches!!!! All of these dishes were matched to our very famous Auslese Tokay (as we called it in those days). People queued from the winery verandah out onto the road to enjoy a sweet treat at the end of the weekend. I would watch with interest as they would then resign themselves to a chair under the pine trees or down on the bridge, to bask in the warm autumn afternoon sun with a belly full of food! A few people even opted for a sleep under a tree!
We still carry on our Sunday tradition of a delicious dessert, though now we call the wine Late Harvest Muscadelle. And likewise, we have developed a tradition for serving our Pfeiffer Merlot on the Saturday, matched to a lovely lamb dish.
And while I watch the action through adult eyes these days, I still take great pride in seeing the enjoyment on our participants faces – the sweet contentment that comes from great food, wine and company!