1986 Ground Breaking Day

It is an exciting time for Beachaven Vineyards and Winery! As you may already know, we have been in business for 30 years now! Over the years, consumers’ taste and trends continuously change, and it is important that we change with them! Our newest venture is starting a blog to share our story of how we became one of Tennessee’s premier wineries!  Here are a few words from one of our owners, Louisa Cooke, reminiscing on groundbreaking day!

“April 1, 1986 was a blustery Spring day in Clarksville, Tn. And on a hillside overlooking the new, and as yet not very busy, I-24 about 30 people were gathered for an event that would change the landscape of Clarksville forever!

The St. Bethlehem end of Clarksville was very quiet in those days. Trane was about the only thing happening. From Highway 76 near the recently opened Governor’s Square Mall, you had to turn on to Dunlop Lane, a two lane curvy country road and go about 3 miles past the fields of daffodils, a farm or two, someone’s beehives, and then you would come upon the site that was to become Beachaven’s Vineyards and Winery.

The men had on suits and ties, the women high heels, and 4 or 5 children were running around in their Sunday best out in the tall grass and dirt of what used to be a cattle farm. County and city officials, friends, investors and families had joined Judge William O. Beach for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Beachaven Vineyards and Winery. Plans had been in the works since “the Judge”, as everyone familiarly called Judge Beach, retired in 1982 and Ed and Louisa Cooke had married in 1980. The family had all been wine enthusiasts and won prizes for their homemade wines for many years, but “Judge’s Dream” to have a commercial winery was about to come to fruition.

At 10:00 am the Judge said a few words of welcome and then the shovels, poised with their points into the earth, were driven through the grass to reveal the first dirt that was turned up in the promise of what is now, thirty years later, still Tennessee’s premier winery and the only winery continuously owned and operated by one family in Tennessee.

After the ceremony, those in attendance celebrated with a toast and glass of Judge’s Champagne, the wine that had recently won Best of Show in a large competition in Atlanta. This wine was the catalyst which prompted the Beach family to take a family hobby to the next level. That very day, earth moving equipment began digging the Champagne cellar for the new winery. The vineyard was also planted that Spring, confusing passersby on the interstate who could not imagine what those “sticks” (small grapevines) were that we had put in the ground. A year later, in 1987, the vines had matured and the building was ready for our first harvest… and the rest, as they say, is history!"

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