Having a glass with the sharks

Colin West and Tom Barry having a glass under water. PHOTO: Rupert Critchley
Colin West and Tom Barry having a glass under water. PHOTO: Rupert Critchley

Swimming with sharks might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for USA born video producer Colin West, extreme adventure is his glass of wine.

Colin is a wine and travel loving Gen Y who has set up his own video production company, WINERAM.

He was in South Australia recently to shoot a segment on Riesling with Tom Barry for a video series on Australian wines, which included a tasting of Jim Barry 2013 Watervale Riesling in a shark cage off Port Lincoln.

Colin’s goal is to demystify wine for 18 to 30 year olds by creating video segments that mix extreme activities and sports with travel and a bit of wine education.

He has already completed a series on New Zealand wine regions, and has been travelling Australia this year shooting footage for a similar series on Australian wines.

Tom Barry said he jumped at the opportunity when Colin pitched the idea of tasting a great white wine with Great White sharks.

The young winemaker denied being nervous at the thought of being in the water with sharks because the group had not seen any as they motored out from Port Lincoln, but once in the water a four and a half metre Great White began circling the cage and stayed with their boat for about an hour.

Colin devised a way of drinking the wine without getting any salt water in their mouth by covering the top of the glass with cling wrap and sealing it with waterproof tape.

Once underwater, Tom and Colin took a breath of air then removed their SCUBA regulators from their mouths, pierced the cling wrap and blew air into the glass, which forced the wine out and into their mouth.

Tom said there was no way of sniffing the wine before taking a sip, and eventually the sea water did seep into the glass with the wine.

An estimated 55 million people in over 150 countries could potentially view the Australian wine series, primarily in the United States of America, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand on television, in cinemas and online, providing great promotion of the Clare Valley.

“Clare is beautiful and unique,” Colin said.

“While Barossa is a great big tourist hub, the Clare Valley is boutique, and the wine makers are more accessible to visitors.

“With its remanent bushland, stone walls and old buildings the region is a bit like Italy and Australia merged into  one.”

Whilst in Clare, WineRam also visited the Rising Sun Hotel, Wild Saffron and Stanley Grammar Country House in Watervale.