The Proust Q&A: Tom Barry

Tom Barry is a third generation winemaker at Jim Barry wines. Having attained a degree in oenology from the University of Adelaide like his father before him, prior to joining the family business Barry cut his winemaking teeth at the likes of Yalumba, Shaw + Smith and Dr Loosen in the Mosel Valley. Barry believes the Clare Valley makes some of the world’s greatest Rieslings and is on a mission to make them better recognised and appreciated around the world. He lives in the Clare Valley with his wife Olivia and French Bulldog Margaux.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

An Australian summer at home with friends and family, plenty of beer and preferably some sport on TV.

What is your greatest fear? 

I’m scared of the turns in life that can take that lead you away from the things and people that you love. And sharks…

Who do you most admire?

Ernie Loosen.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I would say my wife’s engagement ring, she would say my five sets of golf clubs!

What is your current state of mind? 
Extremely positive.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

How caring and intuitive they can be.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife Olivia and French Bulldog, Margaux.

Which words or phrases to you most overuse? 

The word ‘bloody’ gets thrown around far more than it should.

When and where were you happiest?

Playing Kapalua golf course in Maui on my honeymoon.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to dance – I’ve got two left feet!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My height and hair, the Barry’s are short and bald.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

So far, it’s being named the 2013 Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year.

Where would you most like to live?

I love the Clare Valley and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

What is your most treasured possession?

The aforementioned Margaux.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Curiosity.

Who are your favorite writers?

Stieg Larsson.

What is it that you most dislike?

Mint and coriander used as a garnish.

What is your greatest regret?

Taking life a little too seriously in my early 20s.

What is your motto?

Always have a cold beer after work.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what three wines would you serve?

My dinner party would have a sports theme to it as I’d invite Australian golfer Adam Scott, Aussie cricketer Don Bradman and, for good measure, the “godfather” of the Australian wine industry Len Evans. I’d serve them Champagne Salon 1995, 1977 Jim Barry Watervale Riesling and J J Prüm, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 1959 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer to give them the best of the Old and New World.

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