Brown family buys Mount Ophir

Mount Ophir Estate (Photo: Mount Ophir Estate)

The Brown family of All Saints (tastings) and St Leonards (tastings) has bought the National Trust classified Mount Ophir winery at Rutherglen. The family business, run by Eliza, Angela and Nicholas Brown, the son and daughters of the late Peter Brown, has been busy down at Rutherglen, buying more vineyards and setting up a wine bar in the town.

Thousand Pound Wine Bar & Store has been open in Rutherglen for over two years and according to Angela Brown is proving to be a popular haunt for both locals and tourists. Its wine list focuses on family-owned Australian and overseas wineries and the acclaimed food of All Saints Terrace Restaurant head chef Simon Arkless.

Last year the Browns bought a 40-hectare block of land on Distillery Road, Wahgunyah, of which 20 hectares are planted to semillon, chardonnay, merlot, shiraz, muscat and muscadelle.

“This will increase our production by approximately 40%. We plan to graft much of the block over to durif, as we are seeing demand for more of this variety,” she says.

The latest addition is the Mount Ophir Estate, which is on 56 hectares of land east of Rutherglen. The brick winery complex was built between 1891 and 1903 by the Burgoyne family. The winery features unusual curved gables and arched openings. The design of the three-storey tower with its conical roof is also interesting. There’s also a gatehouse, a separate building which was used for yeast propagation and a two-level brick cellar excavated into the side of a hill.

Angela says from 1891 until 1957 when the winery closed, the estate exported 600,000 gallons of wine to England.

The property also has 3 hectares of vines including shiraz, durif and muscat.

“We see the opportunity to buy such a historically significant property as a way of adding to the accommodation and private event capabilities in the region,” says Angela. “The site is currently undergoing significant work (mostly by ourselves) to update it.”

More at the Mount Ophir Facebook page and website.

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