Dragon paid in grapes
A Devon vintner has said that Duncan Bannatyne can expect to get grapes, not money after viewers watched the millionaire businessman invest £60,000 in his venture on Dragon's Den. Entrepreneur Bannatyne was impressed by Mr Bowen's pitch and came up with the full sum he was asking for, in return for a 40% stake.
Mr Bowen established his Topsham vineyard and tasting cellar, Pebblebed, in 2000, and was looking for a Dragon to help finance the acquisition of five acres of new land. He aims to add an additional arm to his existing business; making it pay by attracting further investors to buy vines on the site, in return for wine.
Mr Bowen, who gave the Dragons a taster of his business in the form of personalised bottle of Pebblebed's sparkling rosé, initially established his business by persuading 20 local families to invest in vines on half an acre of land, in return for around 100 bottles of wine a year — and the occasional hand with the harvest. Since then, the business has grown to encompass 22 acres of grapevines.
As with Pebblebed, investors who buy into the new vineyard will get bottles of wine in return for their money; with the company keeping a 50% share of the annual grape harvest.
Mr Bowen said Mr Bannatyne would have the opportunity to stock his recently acquired Shepton Mallet hotel Charlton House and his upmarket health clubs with their own-label wine. The five acres of land could yield around 20,000kg of grapes; enough to make 20,000 bottles of wine, of which the company will own half.