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Roth, Adam (1827–1898)

by Gil Wahlquist

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988

Adam Roth (1827-1898), winemaker and farmer, was born on 11 February 1827 at Wilhelmsfeld, Baden, Germany, son of Adam Roth, farmer and townsman, and his wife Margrete, née Reibold. At Heiligkreuzsteinach he married Katherina Kling (d.1906) on 27 July 1856. Migrating as free settlers they reached Sydney on 3 May 1857.

After working in Sydney as a cooper, Roth purchased forty acres (16 ha) at Eurunderee, near Mudgee, the next year. In 1862 he bought another parcel of land and planted an orchard and vineyard. Short in stature and strong in will, Roth was naturalized in 1865. Near neighbours were Peter and Louisa Lawson; in 1876 Roth signed a petition organized by Peter Lawson for a school at 'Eurundery'.

Prospering after the local gold rush of the early 1870s, he sold fruit, vegetables and wine to the miners at Pipe Clay Creek and Home Rule, and purchased blocks of choice land on the Cudgegong River and Pipe Clay Creek. The home property, Rothview, included a winery and cellar. The Mudgee district enjoyed a slower and cooler growing season than the Hunter valley, producing red wines of deep hue and sweet golden white wines. Roth planted Muscat Hamburg, Shiraz and Frontignac wine-grapes for the reds and Muscat of Alexandria, white sherry and Verdelho for the whites. The wines were fortified by the addition of grape spirit as a preservative. Sweetwater and Muscat Hamburg grapes were grown for eating, selling in Sydney at eightpence a pound. Ohanez grapes, packed in cork shavings, were shipped to London and sold for 2s. 6d. a pound.

Roth was a member of the Mudgee District Wine-Growers Association and protested against the 1882 Licensing Act. In the 1890s wine-growing declined in the area. Survived by his wife, six sons and a daughter, Roth died at Eurunderee on 17 July 1898 and was buried in the Church of England cemetery, Mudgee.

In a detailed will Roth provided for all his children, who each had to provide an annuity for their mother, who remained at Rothview. Those receiving land were required to hold it in trust for their children. Thus the diminutive wine-maker tried to bind generations of his descendants to the countryside of Mudgee. His youngest son William (d.1939) inherited Rothview and was required to give his mother, in addition to £50 a year, 'the full use, benefit and enjoyment of one acre [.4 ha] of the vineyard … such one acre [.4 ha] to be selected by her'. Rothview was the only early Mudgee winery to survive until World War II. William's son Alan (Jack) Roth took over the winery in 1935, changed its name to Craigmoor in 1940 and produced prize-winning wines until his death in 1969.

Select Bibliography

  • Agricultural Gazette (New South Wales), 4, pt 2, Feb 1893, p 144
  • Bruni, The Town of Mudgee (newsclippings, State Library of New South Wales)
  • reel 404 (State Records New South Wales)
  • private information.

Citation details

Gil Wahlquist, 'Roth, Adam (1827–1898)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/roth-adam-8277/text14503, published in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 22 August 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988

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