Rutherglen’s Newest Cellar Door Goes Rogue

James & Co Wines new cellar door in Rutherglen. Photo: Georgie James Photography

A cellar door that has set-up shop away from a vineyard, and doesn’t feature Rutherglen’s big, bold wines is enjoying the benefits of being a ‘rule breaker’.

James & Co Wines is a labour of love for winemaker Ricky and his wife Georgie James, who have opened up a cellar door in Rutherglen’s main street.

Photo: Georgie James Photography
Photo: Georgie James Photography

“What we’re doing is non-traditional from a Rutherglen point of view,” Ricky said.

“We’ve got a cellar door in the main street instead of at a winery, and we’re actually not selling Rutherglen wines.

“We live in Rutherglen and we’re Rutherglen locals but we don’t have a vineyard, and instead source our fruit from one of the best growers in Victoria who has a vineyard at Beechworth.

Photo: Georgie James Photography
Photo: Georgie James Photography

“Essentially we’re in the same Shire, in the same district, with Beechworth only 30k’s away, but it offers a completely different climate and style of wine that can be produced.”

While Rutherglen is famous for its bold red wines, Ricky’s passion for a lighter style Sangiovese was established while working at Lowe Wines in Mudgee.

“I just really like Sangiovese as a variety,” Ricky said.

“It’s an easy going every day staple wine from Italy – very adaptable and we can make a number of wines from the same variety.”

Under the James & Co label is a rose’, a Sangiovese cabernet, a straight Sangiovese and this year a sparkling rose’ will also be developed.

There’s an added twist to the cellar door experience at James & Co, with Georgie, who is also a wedding photographer, using the space for her work.

“With Georgie essentially working here, doing her editing and paperwork – we can also have the cellar door open during the week, as well as on weekends,” Ricky said.

Georgie's photography space, alongside the cellar door.
Georgie’s photography space, alongside the cellar door.

“If brides want to meet her about her photography, they can come here and perhaps talk over a glass of wine.”

The creative couple, that also leases some family land for farming, is enjoying the fruits of a vision they formulated many years ago.

“Our goal ten years ago was to work for ourselves, have a small wine business and work the farm – and that’s exactly what we’re doing now.  We haven’t got much money at the moment, (laughs) but I suppose we’re guiding our own destiny.”

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