It was a long road from Subiaco Oval to WA's winegrowing heart-land but former Eagles defender Trent Carroll is thrilled to have made the journey.
The full-back had almost a decade of footy behind him when he started thinking about what to do in retirement.
"I was flicking through an admissions book for university and there was a course for winemaking with two years in Margaret River as part of the degree and it just sung out to me," Mr Carroll, 35, said.
Graduating in 2007, the great AFL survivor whose career included stints with Claremont, Fremantle and West Coast, reinvented himself as a winemaker for Margaret River vintners McHenry Hohnen. But the new career has elements of the old.
"It's a lot of hard work and long hours, yet all the little things you do during that period allow you to reap a reward later in the year, a lot like the pre-season for football," he said.
Mr Carroll is spending this week as a junior associate at the Perth Royal Wine Show, learning from the best.
Twenty-five judges and junior associates will work through about 50,000 glasses of the 2235 entries from around the nation.
"It's a very disciplined process," wine show chairman Brian Croser said."They're smelling every wine, writing a description of the aroma, putting it in their mouths, assessing the flavours and the sugars and the acid of the wine."