Max Patton bought the Rothvale property on Deasys Road, Pokolbin, in January 1997 and although without formal wine training, is winning a tremendous number of show medals and a loyal following for his wines.
The land that includes and surrounds Rothvale Vineyard was originally owned by the Deasy family, after whom the road is named. The Deasy family farmed sheep as early as the 1800s where the ancient river flats developed over many thousands of years by the formation of Black Creek and Rothbury Creek and their tributaries. This area is well respected by the long time wine growing families of the Hunter Valley as being one of the best areas to grow Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz grapes.
Rothvale saw its first vines planted in 1974 after the property was bought by master Chef, Peter Meier and Sydney businessman, Lang Walker. Peter Meier planted 25 acres of vineyard and built the holiday cottages (now known as Rothvale Vineyard Cottages). The Tyrrell family from Tyrrell's Vineyards managed the vineyard and bought the grapes which were used in the production of their premium wines. Tyrrell’s made a few small batches of wine under the Rothvale label, later acquiring Rothvale in late 1984.
13 years later, Tyrrell's sold to Max, who saw Rothvale as a new and stimulating challenge. When Max arrived at Rothvale in January of 1997 a further 25 acres of vines were planted, 10 acres of which are from the clone that produces Grange Hermitage. The new plantings expanded on the existing varieties of Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
With mature, low-yielding vines, Max decided he would make the wine himself rather than sell the grapes that were in such demand. That was all very well but Rothvale didn't have a winery. By the time 1998 harvest was in full swing, Max had a big concrete slab on which he placed his newly acquired winemaking equipment. Despite an electrical storm that knocked out the power supply at a critical time one afternoon, the Rothvale 1998 vintage went ahead out in the open air. The winery was constructed after the wines had been made.
The vineyard cottages were refurbished during this period. One, two or three bedroom accommodation options are available, comfortable rustic style country cottages located on the vineyard.
Max’s son, Luke Patton, a Hawkesbury graduate in Bachelor of Commerce in Land Economy, joined Max in December of 1997. Luke assists Max in making wine and is the General Manager for the business. Together Max and Luke are a formidable team, having created wines that have achieved over 250 show medals and seven trophies in seven years. Max and Luke thoroughly enjoy their current roles and believe that it is reflected in the quality of their wines. In 2005 Max’s Daughter Tilda joined the team and is enjoying the challenge of winemaking.
Rothvale has a fully operational cellar door and winery producing seven thousand cases of wine per year. The Winery is situated in the cellar door so visitors can taste the success of award winning wines and experience first hand the romantic art of wine making.
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