Snake + Herring started life in 2011, when Tony “Snake” Davis and Redmond “Herring” Sweeny became friends at an Auskick game in Margaret River. The pair soon realised they shared dreams of quitting their day jobs and starting a wine label. And, well, that’s exactly what they did.
Davis, the winemaker of the duo, shed light on his alter-ego while speaking with Fleur Bainger for the Margaret River Region podcast, Wine Unearthed.
“It’s an old rugby nickname from Adelaide University days,” he says. “I wasn’t a particularly great player, but I could wriggle my way through a small hole in defence.”
Sweeny’s nickname was born from a University surf trip up the north west coast of Western Australia. He shared the full story with Bainger.
“On that trip pretty much everything I took kept breaking – leg ropes, boards, camp gear, you name it,” he says. “It was a bit of a disaster, so my friends kept saying, you know, what’s the next red herring that you’re going to pull out?” By the end of the trip, the name had stuck.
Fast forward to 2020, and their wines continue to garner awards and five-star reviews in the Halliday Wine Companion – not to mention a cult following of local and international wine lovers, who appreciate the duo’s unique approach to wine making (more on this to come).
Not content with turning heads in the wine industry alone, Sweeny and Davis took a second leap of faith, launching Yarri Restaurant + Bar in 2018, in collaboration with award winning chef Aaron Carr and his wife Kym, as well as Rachel Sweeny and Sal Davis, who are also co-owners of Snake + Herring. The group wanted to create a beautiful space where people could enjoy the produce of the region and pay homage to the people and place who call it home.