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The Champagne Dame #careergoals

Elsie Adamo

Who doesn’t love a glass of champagne?

For Kyla Kirkpatrick – better known as The Champagne Dame – bubbly has become a life passion.

Once a corporate high-flyer, Kyla’s appreciation for fine food and wine began when she put her career on hold to open a wine bar, but her true love is champagne. What started as a hobby sparked by an article about Napoleon’s friendship with Claude Moët’s grandson Jean-Rémy Moët, soon saw Kyla reading every book on champagne she could find.

After writing a letter to the author of one of her favourite champagne books, she was invited to the Champagne region to learn about the sparkling wine firsthand. Faced with leaving her life in Australia behind, she figured “I could grab it with both hands or walk away. I decided to take the chance.”

After several months in the region, Kyla was hooked. She learnt about the unique grape varieties, traditional methode champagne production, the illustrious history of the wine and had the opportunity to taste some of the world’s most beautiful and rare champagnes.

Despite the move being “a bit of a whim”, she was soon snapped up by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the largest luxury goods conglomerate in the world.

“I was transferred to Sydney and started my life as a presenter and educator specialising in champagne”.

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Today, the Champagne Dame delivers master classes around the country and hosts international champagne tours in places like France, New York and even South Africa. She is also working with an online retailer due to open in 2017 that will be providing Australia with the largest variety of Champagne in the country (currently we only have access to around 90 of about 2000). And of course, she gets to spend summers in Champagne. Sounds heavenly.

But this weekend, Kyla will be returning to Canberra for a masterclass at Canberra Centre, aimed at new enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Guests will learn about everything from history and etiquette to champagne styles and production techniques, and by the end will “feel really confident when purchasing or ordering champagne.”

“I’ll give you enough facts and ammunition to help you go into a bottle shop in Canberra and be able to select something you would really love to drink.”

“I take a journey with my clients – there is no exact vision is to what’s going to come out on the day so every masterclass is slightly different, which is why people come back so often”.

Describing herself as a purist, Kyla mainly sticks to labels from Champagne, rarely branching out into other sparkling wines. Confused about the difference? Sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it is from the specific region in France that it shares the same name with.

Kyla says there are three reasons it’s the best sparkling: its long history and knowledge of creating it; the terroir (the conditions of the vineyard) are perfect; and the cold climate. It’s the perfect “stress” of these three things that make makes it so special.

“Think about how as human beings, when things are challenging for us, that’s often the time that we are at our best — that’s what makes us grow. It’s the same with champagne – the difficult climatic conditions that the vines go through gives it intensity and minerality.”

As for the best time to enjoy champagne, Kyla insists it’s not the big celebrations that we should be popping open our expensive bottles, but just casually on a weekday night.

“At big events there is too much going on to enjoy it properly, there are so many people, a lot of visual stimulations and distractions that detract from the enjoyment.

“Take it back a step, buy a beautiful bottle of champagne, drink it on the Tuesday night, somewhere quiet, with a girlfriend or your husband, with simple good food, and your champagne will really make the moment special”.

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Elsie Adamo

Elsie originally hails from South Australia but after almost five years in the Capital likes to consider herself now as a local. A student at ANU she keeps herself busy on campus with student societies and now interning at HerCanberra. Her great loves include sitcoms, podcasts, bookstores, cider, brunch and online shopping. More about the Author