Joan and I dedicated the last 22 years to developing our farm and Barwon Ridge. The idea of developing a vineyard started out as a crazy idea of Geoff’s but once Joan agreed it became our joint passion and has lead to many deep friendships and much personal satisfaction to us both. In 1998 we set out to build a home in the Barrabool Hills that we hoped to leave in a sustainable state and we felt that we were on the way to achieving that.
The farm as it is today is a testament to Joan’s hard work, determination and common sense. She was willing to tackle anything, except – sensibly – tractor driving and chain sawing. Together we turned bare paddocks into thriving ecosystems, nurtured vines that are producing award winning wines, developed an orchard of heritage fruit trees and lately built a new native garden near cellar door. Joan was proud of the farm and of Barwon Ridge, and she found a new career as a farmer, landcarer and as an enthusiastic and charming cellar door host who produced the best seedy biscuits.
Although improving the farm was done primarily for the land itself and ourselves it was gratifying to be awarded the 2019 Geelong Chamber of Commerce Cleaver and Creative, Sustainable Business Award for our joint work on the farm.
In particular, Joan loved our daily walks with our Schnauzer Heidi through the revegetation areas or vineyard. Even towards the end we would drive up each day so that she could enjoy the wattle that was just coming into bloom and watch the birds that are moving in as the new plantings develop.
The new cellar door garden was finished in time for Joan to feel it would develop into one of her favourite places on the farm. It will be a special place for friends and visitors to relax in the years to come. Maybe while enjoying a glass of Joan’s Sparkling Rosé.
Joan’s presence will continue in every aspect of life at Barwon Ridge.