Today we get to hear about two of my favorite things: travel and wine with 25-year-old Colin West, founder and producer of WINERAM. Through WINERAM, Colin is looking at the world’s wine regions and shooting documentaries trying to bring a different side of wine to Generation Y. The company is currently releasing online episodes of the first ‘WINERAM Experience’ going through New Zealand teaching the viewer about wine while also experiencing all the beauty, adventure and extreme sports New Zealand has to offer. At the moment Colin is based in Seattle, working to set up other film gigs with WINERAM and create a lifestyle where he can have a ‘home base’ then travel and film in wine-producing countries several months out of the year.
- Where do you call ‘home’, or where are you originally from?
I am originally from Olympia, Washington. It was an amazing place to grow up, yet every time I visit “home” I find myself going stir crazy after a couple weeks.
- Do your friends and family understand/support your traveling or living abroad?
Hard to say – they love it in a way, they live vicariously through me sometimes. Some friends are so jealous and look up to you and then other friends think your just a bum that travels and look down on you. My calling is just…out there in the world of wine and film!!
- Why did you choose to live in New Zealand?
Haha – a girl brought me there. I also had applied for a job as a Wine Specialist for the largest wine database in the world and I told myself I had to make the decision for MYSELF – not just follow some girl. I knew NZ had a great wine industry that I wanted to work in so, I chose to go. Went there, got my office job in Auckland, got a nice house…then my girlfriend came to visit, and within days we broke up!
- Why did you start WINERAM? I wanted to spread the passion of wine and break down people’s misconceptions that wine is just for snobs. I’m not a snob – I’m young, fun, crazy and just passionate about wine. So why can’t other people like me fall in love with it – it’s an amazing thing! It’s art! Its history! It’s culture! It’s in the friggin’ Bible! Also a friend said you shouldn’t get a job to pay for what you want to do in life; you should do what you want and then build a job around it. SO I DID.
- What is the WINERAM documentary about?
This one is about New Zealand and experiencing wine from the point of view of a Gen-Yer. I show you how I see the world with one common factor: wine. The documentary experiences the entire country from the bottom of the south island to the tip of the north island seeing the hottest travel destinations along the way. We see the natural beauty of the country and even do adventure activities and extreme sports in each place, while going through the best wine regions in the country and teaching the viewer a six-step process to winemaking along the way. It’s not snobby – it’s laid back, it’s fun and it shows you that its okay to learn about wine and be interested in it.
- How old were you when you made your first big trip or visited another country?
5th grade on a Caribbean cruise with the family…but my defining moment of travel was when I was 18 the summer before college. I had 2,500 USD and could have bought the new HD flat screen TVs OR I could have gone on a trip through California and Vegas. I chose three weeks of travel with my money – that was a defining moment in life.
- Why do you think it’s important for our generation to travel?
We have the opportunity to travel like no one else and need to take advantage of it. I’ve been to 28 countries and I’m only 25. Imagine if our parents could have done that when they were our age? Or our grandma? Traveling like we can would have been unheard of for our grandparents. It’s becoming normal for us – imagine what our kids will be doing in 20 years? What modes of travel will be available? What new innovative travel companies will present even more amazing travel opportunities and experiences at low prices. Its nuts. The world is at your fingertips, take it into your hands and make shit happen.
- One travel tip: If you got your passport, clothes on your back, a credit card and the motivation to make it work, you can sell everything else and hit the road cuz you got all you need.
- What is the most important thing travel has taught you? To be happy on your own. I have lived in 9 different places and moved to EVERY one of those spots 100% ALONE to start. The first 3-6 months are usually very depressing and difficult. Well…the first month I party and go out and meet people had have a blast and its like the “honeymoon period” and it still feels like “vacation” then you realize that your not on vacation anymore. After 6 months go by I usually find my niche, meet some really close friends and I create a new HOME for me.
- What do you think you’d be doing right now if you weren’t working on WINERAM or other documentaries?
Not a 9-5 job that’s for sure. This has been my calling and what I love, so it’s my fate – couldn’t be doing anything else!