Thoughts on Geoff Bowen & Pebblebed Vineyards
I was so sorry to hear of the loss of Geoff Bowen of Pebblebed Vineyards earlier this year.
Geoff (on the left above) was a pioneer of the type of vineyard tourism we’re all about here at Wine Cellar Door. His totally unpretentious view of vinegrowing, open invitations for locals to join in harvest and the delightful cellar door in Topsham undoubtedly opened the door to English wine for a huge number of people.
From a personal view, my first harvest was at Pebblebed way back in 2013 and I’ll never forget my first chance to tread grapes – a rather unusual, not totally unpleasant, squishy feeling, in case you’re wondering!
A larger than life character, to die at just 53 and only 3 months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour was a huge shock. Geoff’s daughter Martha planned to run the Bath Half Marathon this Sunday to raise money for Brain Tumour Charity. Unfortunately the snowy weather means that the Bath Half has had to be cancelled this year, but Martha still plans to run the same distance, 13.1 miles, most likely be to Exmouth and back, finishing at the cellar for drinks. Her original target of £250 has been surpassed long since and as I write, the total approaches £10,000. If you would like to help Martha meet, or even exceed that milestone, then you can donate now, a fitting tribute to Geoff that will help many more people in the same position.
Lest you think that Geoff’s fun-loving attitude meant any lack of seriousness in the winemaking department, the very first commercial vintage of Pebblebed Rosé 2004 caused a stir when it was a surprise winner of a prestigious Gold Medal in the English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition, one of only a handful of Gold Medals presented that year.
It’s natural that any business losing its figurehead and leader. let alone one as driven as Geoff, should undergo a period of uncertainty when, one assumes, cashflow would be welcome, so if you feel like trying their wines, now would be as good a time as any.
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