Shadow is a handsome, five year-old Border Collie who lives and works at Fox Creek winery in McLaren Vale. [Download Shadow's model card] Shadow has been part of the family ever since Helen Watts saved him from doom as she waited with her cat at the local veterinary surgeon. Recently, Shadow released his own wine called ‘Shadow’s run’. Shadow is donating $6 from every case of wine he sells to the Farmhand Foundation for drought relief. Here, Shadow talks about fame, friends and fun in the vineyard.
Why have you decided to release your own wine?
To help the farmers. By putting my name on the wine and donating some of the money to the Farmhand Foundation for drought relief, I feel like I’m doing my bit. I was raised on farms to work hard and help out a mate in need, and that’s what I’m doing - helping others out.
What’s it like to be famous?
Weird. All these strange dogs come up to me in the street and want a lick or... sometimes worse. It gets kind of embarrassing at times. I do get some weird stuff in the mail though - last week I got a note asking if I’d be the father of another dog’s litter. Like I said, weird.
How do you feel about having your own wine?
When I was little I always wanted to be on the label of a can of PAL, I guess that’s every puppy’s dream. But like most, I grew out of it. Well, until all this happened. One minute I’m on the winery just doing my job and next I’m on the label of a bottle of wine.
What do you say to those critics who say you’re just jumping on the celebrity wine wagon?
The other celebrities with wine labels have been great. I haven’t actually spoken to Greg Norman yet but his people have invited me on to that boat of his. And Warnie has been really good about it - he gave me a call and some tickets to the World Cup. There’s no hostility between any of us.
What does a typical day at the Fox Creek winery involve?
I’m usually first up and then I chase a few foxes off the property. By that stage the winemakers Daniel and Tony are up so we say our ‘good mornings’ and get to work. Then I go and hang out at cellar door and keep the customers happy - just the usual meet and greet, “Hi how’s it going, come in and try our wines,” that sort of thing. Once that’s under control it’s off to the vineyard to work with the pruners.
What are the favourite bits about working at Fox Creek?
Definitely pruning. It’s awesome fun. The pruners flick the trellis wire that runs along the vines and I spend most of the day chasing the wobbles. Some of the pruners like it but others think it’s a bit annoying. I get so excited I can’t keep quiet about it.
And the worst?
Vintage. The winemaking team doesn’t get much sleep so they’re all a bit grumpy. It’s hard to get them to throw me a ball or take me for a ride in the car or anything.
So where do you see yourself in the future?
I’d really like to take it one step at a time. There’s talk of producing my own calendar, recording a single and even being cast in a pantomime in London’s theatre district. But right now I’m pretty happy - Fox Creek is a beautiful place and McLaren Vale is beautiful part of the world. I’d be crazy to leave here. Come and see for yourself.