Gary Farrell Winery launches GoFundMe honoring late winemaker
Gary Farrell Winery has established a fundraiser in honor of winemaker Mark Osborne, who died at 52 years old after he was struck by a suspected drunk driver while cycling near Sebastopol in May.
The Healdsburg winery set a goal to raise $20,000 through GoFundMe to split between Friends of Trione Annadel and Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition in Osborne’s name. More than 100 people have donated $17,125 as of Wednesday morning, according to the GoFundMe.
“While many of us in the wine industry remember Mark for his dedication to producing incredible wines, it’s his passion for the outdoors and cycling that we ask you to support through a donation to his memorial fund,” the GoFundMe reads. “Both of these causes were incredibly near and dear to Mark.”
The winery initially hoped to raise $10,000 total. After reaching its goal in a few days, they decided to double the amount of money for the two organizations.
“It really meant a lot to us to cement his legacy in those two communities,” said Brian Shapiro, business development manager at Gary Farrell Winery.
Osborne specialized in the biology and chemistry of wine production as an enologist at the winery, where he started his career as an intern in 2007 after moving to Sonoma County from Australia.
“We’re sharing a lot of anecdotes and a lot of stories,” Shapiro said. “He was such a wonderful member of the team. Everybody loved him. Everybody shared such a unique bond with him.”
He also was an avid cyclist, hiker, kayaker and runner. As a marathoner, he competed in several races, including the Annadel Half Marathon and the San Francisco Marathon. Osborne joined the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and advocated for legislation that would improve safety for cyclists with his wife, Tracy, according to the fundraiser.
“Both Tracy and Mark would attend city council meetings and meetings of the Board of Supervisors whenever action was needed on an item that could have an impact on safe cycling,” the GoFundMe reads.
Osborne was cycling on the right shoulder of High School Road north of Sebastopol May 12 when the driver of a Ram Rebel pickup lost control on a left curve and collided into a 12-year-old boy before hitting Osborne. Both suffered major injuries, and Osborne died eight days later.
Ulises Valdez Jr., 27, of Sebastopol was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI. Valdez is a manager at Valdez Family Winery in Cloverdale.