Patrick Sandeman

(by peter)

We were both shocked to hear about the untimely death of Patrick Sandeman in a sky-diving accident.

I suppose it’s always hard to comprehend these things when you’ve seen someone so recently, and in such fine form.

Susie chatted to Patrick at the recent Bunch tasting and I enjoyed a very convivial lunch with him at The Vintners’ Company just a few days ago.

Patrick was a leading member of the wine trade – for his incisive intellect, his sharp wit, his natural authority and also his very successful and respected wine merchant business, Lea & Sandeman.

He was a much valued member of the Vintners’, occupying the role of Swan Warden (which meant, as far as I understand these things, that he was destined to take the ultimate role of Master Vintner before too long).

After lunch last week, I had tweeted a photo of Patrick (along with Major Stephen Marcham, Master Vintner Michael Cox and Tesco’s Dan Jago, see left) in the very neat and tidy cellar at Vintners’ Hall.

Quick as a flash, Patrick tweeted back: ‘Tweeting from the Vintners’ cellars? Whatever next!’

Smiling wryly, I apologised for my indiscretion and thanked him for lunch. It was the last time I conversed with him.

I had been writing a brief report on the lunch – a few words to say how well the Ducru-Beaucaillou 1996 and Meursault-Blagny 2005 1er Cru La Genelotte by Martelet de Cherisey were tasting, also a small insight into the extremely neat and well stocked cellars under Vintners’ House – but now this has become a tribute to Patrick in this very sad time.

Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife Katie and family, as well as his long-term business partner and friend Charles Lea.

NB: In memory of Patrick, his family have chosen the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust as the most suitable charity to channel donations. They will provide funds for spinally injured people to improve their lives generally and enable them to achieve their dreams. For donations please go to this site or you can donate by post to: Patrick Sandeman, Funding Extraordinary Journeys, c/o Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, 21 Chipper Lane, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 1BG. Cheques made payable to SSIT.