Part of the Rutherglen Wine Region since 1860

The House at Mount Prior flies its flag from an imposing tower—a symbol of 19th Century grandeur.

Mount Prior was a major wine producer in Rutherglen’s early days. A solid brick and stone cellar used the world’s most modern winemaking equipment. Steam power was introduced long before most wineries replaced their working horses. The operation was self-sufficient. It boasted workers quarters, a blacksmith shop, boiler house, engine room, cooperage, distillery and fermenting room. Huge quantities of fortified wines were supplied to the owners’ warehouse in Melbourne.

The first vines were planted by Mr T C Farmer in 1860. Brothers, Alexander and Robert Caughey became the new owners just prior to the boom time in the 1870’s. Because of the demand for wine, supplementary fruit was purchased from other growers. Mount Prior land was also used for raising beef and cropping lucerne. Alexander moved from Melbourne to Mount Prior in the late 1800’s and built the grand house on the hill as well as planting the avenue of Olive trees. Mount Prior’s famous in-ground, two level brick and stone cellars were built around 1896. At this time Mount Prior winery was second only in size to the famous All Saints Winery. District vines were destroyed by phylloxera outbreak after the turn of the century.

In 1975 the vineyard was replanted by the new owner, Dr Hugh Catchlove, a Wangaratta radiologist. The present owner is Jim Sawyer, a Barnawartha grazier and businessman. His 435 acre property has over 100 acres planted to vines.

The property was subdivided in 2014 into 3 lots, Mount Prior retains to Cellar Door and wine making complex with 100 acres of premium vines including: Durif, Shiraz, cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.