The life of Jim Barry Celebrated with a Book

"Jim Barry Wines are well-known to wine lovers, but Jim Barry the man was a quiet achiever, widely known and respected in the wine industry although he never really had a public profile.

He was a modest man, but a man of many interests – in the words of his son Peter, who runs the family winery today at Clare in a much more flamboyant style.

Peter’s son Tom is winemaker today: the Barry family lays claim to being the first Australian family to have three generations of Roseworthy College oenology graduate winemakers.

Jim Barry started making his own wines in the late 1960s, building his winery and cellar door in 1973. Jim died in 2004, but since then the business has expanded and the brand has grown. Jim Barry not only created a winery and world-famous wine brand, he started a dynasty.

As it was more than 40 years since Jim began winemaking in Clare, the family figured it was time to celebrate his life with a book. And, like everything they do, they’ve done it with style and flair and without holding anything back. The result of their efforts is a large-format 140-page hardback entitled Jim Barry: More Than A Lifetime’s Work. The title is a quote from Jim, to the effect that sometimes it takes longer than a lifetime to do a lifetime’s work. True enough. It’s now three generations and counting.

Written by James Rickard and Graeme McDonough, with art direction and design by Jodie Kunze, it is a splendid tribute to the man, his loyal partner and wife Nancy, and their family. It’s a history of the company Jim Barry Wines as much as a biography. It details the early days of Jim’s life, his education, the notable people he worked with including Wolf Blass, the Taylor family of Taylors Wines, Brother John May of Sevenhill and more.

A photograph of Jim’s Roseworthy class of 1946-7 includes his brother Brian, John Stanford, Peter Weste, and other notable winemakers. The chapters include the development of each of the main vineyards: The Armagh, The Lodge Hill, Florita, and Coonawarra. The innovative development of the assyrtiko wine and vineyard gets its own chapter.

The book is a great collection of pictures as well as a good read. One of the stand-outs is a colour 1982 shot of Jim and Peter in a two-seat convertible with Wolf Blass reclining in the back, his shoes sticking out of the cramped space.

There are no less than three forewords, penned by Blass, Robert Hill Smith and Matthew Jukes. The book is available for AUD $100 from the cellar door and the Jim Barry Wines website."

Written by Huon Hooke - The Real Review