How is it that Brisbane has a world-renowned champagne expert living here?
This is where my home is, and I have enjoyed spreading the champagne word in this beautiful part of the world.
Where were you born and is it true that your family were non-drinkers?
I was born in Brisbane and my parents did not drink! They wondered where I came from!
How old were you when you had your first taste of champagne?
About 19 or 20 years old.
What was your reaction?
I thought it was the most wonderful wine I had ever tasted!
How did you accumulate your knowledge of champagne?
From reading books on Champagne and then tasting at any opportunity possible! I grew up in a flower business and learning to use my nose for scents, was a great asset.
Have you lived in France?
No, but visit whenever I have the opportunity.
Why is champagne so special?
It expresses every mood, speaks every language, is a form of applause and sparkles its way into all the best moments on the world stage. It is joyful, happy, full of spirit, magnificence and euphoria.
What is the most expensive bottle of champagne you have tasted?
I was part of a group who raised money for charity by spending $24,000 on a remarkable magnum “Esprit du Siècle” which Moët & Chandon created from 100years of champagne from the 20th century. It was sensational and the money was raised for 2 great causes –Breast Cancer research and Starlight Children’s Foundation – which made every drop even more special.
Do you have a favourite champagne?
My answer to this is always “Name your favourite child” !
Of what champagne award are you most proud?
I am very proud of them all! Being appointed “Dame Chambellan”of L’ordre des Coteaux de Champagne in 2014 was very special and my “Chevalier de l’ordre du Merite Agricole” – a knighthood from the French Government was a great honour.
When did you start your Champagne Classes?
Late 1989,and I have proudly converted thousands of people to Champagne over the years!
Your wine expertise is not confined to champagne. Could you expand?
I did give wine presentations for many years (along with champagne!) but now I work exclusively with champagne!
Are your family members champagne drinkers?
I have a sister and nieces who are very fond of it – but not my brothers!
How does Australian sparkling wine compare with French champagne? They are 2 different wines and should be treated in their own merits. The terroir is different in both countries and the resultant wines are individual.
What is your top 3 favourite Brisbane dining destinations?
GOMA at Brisbane Cultural Precinct, Citron at Wilston, Gerard’s in F/Valley.
What is your top 3 Brisbane bar destinations? Emporium hotel bar F/Valley, Urbane, Mary St, and want to try Nickel in F/valley because of their great champagne list.
If you had only $50 to spend what Champagne would you buy?
Mumm which is $49 and such a delightful champagne.
Is there a Australian sparkling that you would suggest?
I only drink champagne. Apart from water!