|New blog series: Negociants UK Winemaker Tour|
|Written by Laura Heywood|
|Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:26|
Fresh from The Negociants UK Winemaker Tour is Tom Barry, third-generation family winemaker at Jim Barry Wines, who has been travelling round the country with five fellow Aussie and Kiwi winemakers. He shares his experiences on the road with Harpers.
Tom Barry: "It's with great pleasure that I head up North for the first leg of the Negociants UK Winemaker Tour. As I sit here and reflect on the places I have visited to promote our wines, my favourite memories are of my time in ‘The Great North', although I will admit that most of those memories are a little hazy, thanks to some excellent wine, a little whisky and fantastic company.
I find the people and wine culture up here to be very similar to that of Australia. A laid back approach is taken when it comes to wine, yet there is a clear respect for wines that are unique and of high quality. To me, these two factors represent the future of Australian wine, here in Scotland, throughout the rest of the UK and indeed the world. Just as the North has fought to carve out its own personality and defining character, Australian wine regions must now show their individuality.
Our greatest challenge is the same one that we face everywhere, which is convincing people that Riesling does not have to be sweet. I better not get started on this, as I could (and would!) go on for days, but when I travel, my focus is always on our Riesling and getting it in to people's glasses. If I can break through this barrier, the wine speaks for itself and wine drinkers and our customers alike find a love for what I believe is the most fascinating grape variety.
On the home front, things are busier than ever. Now that my brother Sam and I have returned to Clare to work at the winery (he's in the office and I'm in the cellar) our company has entered its third generation. Working alongside Dad (Peter), we are keen to keep moving forward and look at things with fresh eyes. Innovation has always been an important part of the Jim Barry Wines philosophy and we're proud to have recently planted the first cuttings of the Greek variety Assyrtiko in Australian soil. It will still be a few more years before we can produce the wine, but needless to say we are very excited about its future.
Vintage will be upon us in no time, but some excellent winter rains and a bit of sunshine in early spring means we are in a good position for the 2013 harvest.Thanks for having us Scotland, as always it's been a treat."