Let’s hear it for the boys, by Curly Haslam-Coates
I love being a girl. I love working in the wine industry. I love wearing dresses. I’m still not sure where I stand on feminism as a whole but I do agree with the very funny Reginald D Hunter in that we shouldn’t worry about everything but be most offended with phrases like “You’re going to get paid less”.
Champagne and sparkling wine has some very fine female heritage. From Veuve Clicquot to Jansz, Krug to Clover Hill, there are smart, funny, fashionable, capable women leading the way but right now I want to talk about the men we work with. Not all of them, this is about the good ones that are often over looked in the feminist fight.
Respect, the right to be listened to, to be able to lead and to have a valued opinion are all important and I have been fortunate enough to work amongst many men in the wine industry who give me these things without any issue.
I am a little old fashioned and I appreciate having a door opened for me and my chair pulled out in a restaurant but it is a real pleasure that when the waiter gives the wine list to the man I am with, he gives the wine list to me. I can go to a wine event in the gold dress and my professional opinion be sought when I am in effect dressed like a disco ball. I don’t have to sacrifice myself, my femininity or the most awesome dress I have ever bought to be respected professionally.
To the men that I have worked with over the years I am “Curly, the sparkling wine chick/girl/woman/specialist/ninja” I am not there merely as an accessory who looks good with a glass of bubbles but someone to talk business with. They have opened their good bottles, taken me around their wineries, sent me links, books, articles and put me in touch with other professionals that I can learn from and I thank them for it. Feminism won’t work if we don’t have the men on board and there’s a lot of good men out there.
Without their help I would not be where I am professionally. And I would be thirsty. As this is a wine article, I really should introduce you to three sparkling wines from three very talented men who have made my journey through the industry a little easier.
Andrew Weeber saw the potential for English sparkling wines many years ago and has been stealthily creating a very tasty sparkling wine range. This is like hen’s teeth so you may have to sell one of your internal organs/children to get your hands on a case but if you are anywhere near London, the fabulous Wine Pantry in Borough Market sells it by the glass. Rich and complex with a crisp, citrus acidity my best friend and I sailed through a few glasses of this as we sat in the sunshine at the Wine Pantry.
Even I haven’t tried this yet!! It wasn’t finished when I visited in 2010 before leaving for Australia and sadly on my last fleeting visit we didn’t meet up but Nick Hall’s small vineyard and winery in Kent is geared up to make some excellent sparkling. Good enough to get on a plane for i’m thinking…
Andrew Pirie knows his way around a sparkling and is also generous with his time and knowledge. His newest venture Apogee isn’t released yet but if the base wine is anything to go by it will be a beauty. Until then, Pirie sparkling wine is more than enough to keep you happy. Great Tassie bubbles without a shadow of a doubt.