whoever you want to be…

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.

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2007

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.

Herbert Hall

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.

Flute and Vine

About fluteandvine

I am a woman on a mission to discover sparkling wines around the world. Owner of a sizeable amount of dresses. My gold dress has its own personality and agenda. I like to pair my sparkling wine with travel, art and friends.

6 comments on “Let’s hear it for the boys, by Curly Haslam-Coates

  1. diane
    June 14, 2012

    Hi Curly, I really know nothing about the wine industry but I’m assuming from your post that it’s very male-dominated? I agree that feminism needs men to recognise that we’re equal, but I think the fact that more of them do now than in the past is largely due to feminist activism.

    • fluteandvine
      June 14, 2012

      Hi Diane, yes traditionally the wine industry has been very male dominated and there are so many amazing women that you will be hearing a lot about as I go along, who have paved the way for the rest of us.
      However I truly believe that part of the solution is getting the men on board so that when a young girl with potential comes along it is recognised and she is given the support and skills to grow. There isn’t always a woman around to give guidance so we should applaud the men who step up at this point. It’s progress, it’s great and should be noted.
      Come the revolution we’ll all be friends.

      • diane
        June 16, 2012

        I’m happy to be friends with non-sexist men now. 🙂

  2. Deborah Graham-Wilson
    June 14, 2012

    I think you’re accepted and valued as a person and being a woman has no bearing on it. Nor should it… and its almost a shame that the ‘good guys’ have to be mentioned as it means there are still the other sort out there.

    You’re strong (physically and mentally), intelligent, professional (well, aside from when we’re dancing drunk) and know how to handle yourself in the environment you interact in. You’re witty. You inject a little humour. You don’t take yourself too seriously. You don’t play the girlie card in work and just get stuck in, rarely asking for help and only when its really needed. You’re not trying to be better than the men or to prove a point, you’re simply trying to be the best you can and be ‘Curly’.

    Yes, I have no doubt that there are some men in your male-dominated industry that doubt your abilities (heck, even worse, I know you still get asked where you’re originally from and that ‘the home counties’ just doesn’t cut it with some people!) and indeed I operate in the same environment albeit a very different industry, but increasingly as the old guard die out or simply lose the stubbornness to hold their macho ground, ‘our’ generation are less gender-biased than before and it should become more of a rareity. We’ll always come across the occasional dinosaur who we curse, get frustrated by, and who it takes a glass of something special to regain our composure over, but hopefully by continuing to be brilliant and to be well-regarded for just being ‘Curly’ you can continue to make it easier for the women who follow you.

    As one of my best friends I can only thank you for both the chance to drink fantastic bubbles with you on a semi-regular basis (albeit less-so now we live so far apart) and the trouble/fun that gold dress has got us into over the years.

    Oh, and for any of the ‘good guys’ out there reading your blog… mine’s a glass of bubbles too!


  3. Helen
    June 17, 2012

    Oh I would love to know more about wine. Looking forward to more of your columns.

    • fluteandvine
      June 17, 2012

      Thank you. Wine is so much fun and a great way to learn about the world. I would always recommend a trip to an independent wine merchant or Majestic wines as the staff know what they are talking about and can help you find something you will enjoy.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 14, 2012 by in Bea Careers, Bea Delicious, Bea Feminist and tagged , .
Follow whoever you want to be… on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: