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Once considered ‘an old person’s drink’ younger drinkers lead a resurgence in muscat

Once considered ‘an old person’s drink’ younger drinkers lead a resurgence in muscat

The past 12 months has thrown many challenges at the wineries in the Rutherglen status in north-east Victoria.

Key points:

  • A Rutherglen winery is seeing a resurgence in muscat sales
  • Whiskey distilleries in Scotland are wanting Rutherglen’s fortified barrels
  • Stanton and Killeen Wines celebrate a vineyard’s 100-year anniversary

Lock down restrictions, China closing its doorways to Australian imports, major occasions cancelled, worker shortages, and smoke taint are moral a few of the curve balls.

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Regardless of all this, the general manager of Stanton and Killeen, Natasha Killeen said there was level-headed hundreds things to be wrathful about — including a revival of fortified wines.

“A few years ago individuals were saying that fortifieds were dead, nonetheless that’s certainly no longer what we are experiencing,” she said.

Two women lean on a shed holding wine glasses

Wendy and Natasha Killeen are mother and daughter team from Stanton and Killeen Wines in Rutherglen. (

Equipped: Chloe Smith Photography


Natasha is in partnership with her mother Wendy Killeen, who leads the sales and marketing of the family winery. 

Wendy said they are also seeing a unusual generation of fortified drinkers.  

“Years ago, individuals understanding it was really old fashioned and it was a drink for old individuals,” she said.

“Now we are seeing individuals in their 20s and 30s who are interested in fortifieds because they are interested in varied drinks, and especially handcrafted drinks.

Wendy Killeen said their winery has considered a 15 to 20 per cent increase in fortified sales from 10 years ago.

According to data from Wine Australia, fortified wine sales grew by 14 per cent in value and 7 per cent in volume from the year 2020-2021.

Scotland wants Rutherglen muscat barrels

It’s no longer always moral customers who are all at as soon as interested in fortifieds.

Natasha said there was an increased demand for his or her fortified barrels from international distilleries.

Wine barrels

Jack Stanton planted a shiraz and muscat vineyard in 1921 that level-headed remains today. (

Equipped: Chloe Smith Photograpy


“The gin and whiskey industry are really interested in our Rutherglen muscat oak barrels,” she said.

Robbie Tucknott  is the managing director of Barrel Brokers Australasia, a company based in Corowa, NSW, that buys and sells barrels. 

He said barrels can payment anywhere between $350-$2,000 depending on the quality and size. 

“I’ve sent Rutherglen barrels to Scotland and into China as effectively. There is a real demand,” Mr Tucknott said.

“Rutherglen has such a great name in producing fortified wines in the old vogue, so with the trade overseas there’s demand for his or her finish merchandise.”

A person peeks out from the inside of a large barrel.

Cleaning out the old barrels can generally mean getting inside. (

Equipped: Stanton and Killeen Wines 


Natasha Killeen said she was too sentimentally attached to promote the wineries fortified barrels, regardless of the overseas demand.

Probably the most crucial winery’s barrels date back to the 1860s and have been veteran by Natasha’s great grandfather, grandfather, and father.

“Winter is a great time to notice after our old oak,” she said.

“At the moment we are emptying out the casks and doing some maintenance. We are currently doing two casks a week.”

a woman climbs inside a wine barrel with a small door

During winter the winery cleans out its 100-year-old oak barrels. (

Equipped: Stanton and Killeen Wines


Older the vine the higher the wine?

This year the winery also celebrated a milestone anniversary with a muscat and shiraz vineyard planted by Natasha’s great grandfather turning 100 years old.

“It was planted in 1921 by my great grandfather Jack Stanton,” Natasha said.

“Wine can be the sufferer of fashion generally nonetheless these are two varieties that have really stood the take a look at of time.”

gnarly grape vines

Planted by Jack Stanton in 1921, a shiraz and muscat vineyard turns 100 years old this year. (

ABC Rural: Annie Brown 


The centurion gnarly vines are pruned and picked by hand to avoid any damage.

“As they acquire older, the yield reduces nonetheless you acquire this really amazing intense fruit. We had a really great vintage this year and we’re very wrathful for the 100th anniversary of Jack’s Block shiraz.”

Natasha said looking at her great grandfather’s vineyards has been grounding as the business and the status goes thru a pandemic.

“It certainly affords you that sense of time. No matter what is happening in the exterior world — there’s been wet years, dry years, we’re currently going thru a pandemic — nonetheless these vines are level-headed here,” she said.

Once considered ‘an old person’s drink’ younger drinkers lead a resurgence in muscat