This year, the IWSC has shortlisted three people for The Julian Brind Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry, sponsored by Waitrose. The award is designed to find the next big star in the wine industry - find out more here.
Curly Haslam-Coates is a wine and spirit educator located in Tasmania. She has been involved in the drinks industry for over two decades, working in retail, hospitality, and cellar door management, before founding her wine education company Vintage Tasmania.
How long have you been involved in wine?
I started working in wine at the age of 18 at the Tannin Level in Harrogate. It was a bistro with a wine merchant attached.
Your company, Vintage Tasmania, champions Tasmanian wine around the world. What makes Tasmanian wine so special?
Tasmania is an incredible place to work. In relation to Australia major, the climate allows producers here to make wines that cannot be replicated on the mainland. Our long summer days, cool nights and site-specific vineyards give the perfect conditions for some really elegant, complex and truly delicious wines.
Aside from Tasmania, what do you think are the most exciting countries or regions at the moment?
I am Anglo-Tasmanian, so England still has a very important place in my heart. It has been really exciting seeing the growth in the industry over the last decade and seeing how, in some cases, it has mirrored the growth we see here in Tasmania.
Outside of England, Chile and the wines of southern France intrigue me. Both have had vines grown for centuries, but in the last 10 years the increase in quality of the wines and the focus of producers on utilising local grapes has been a delicious education. Visiting the Bio-Bio, Itata and Malleco regions last year was a real highlight: visiting natural wine producers, seeing their work with Pais and also the viticultural practices in use throughout the regions.
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing my students find their groove in the wine industry and progress with confidence.
What is your career highlight so far?
Teaching the WSET in Tasmania. The only reason I’m in Tasmania is because of the study trip I took in 2008 thanks to the Vintners Bursary I won for my Level 3 results. Tasmania really grabbed me as a location for sparkling wine production, and to bring the qualifications to Tasmania and also be a part of that growing industry still tickles me.
Who is your wine inspiration?
Other than the Serena Williams of wine, Jancis Robinson, I would say Tim Atkin. I really admire his professional integrity, honesty and even-handed tone in his writing. Tim's ability to navigate the wine world and stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry is enviable. I hope to pass on one of the best lessons I have learned from Tim, to be secure enough in my own knowledge and learning gaps that I can always keep an open mind and learn from others. He’s also excellent at showing belief in his own skill in the way that he cheerfully celebrates the successes of others in the industry and lends a hand to those who he believes have potential.
Follow Curly on Twitter and Instagram @vintagetasmania, and like Vintage Tasmania on Facebook here.
The winner of the Julian Brind Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry will be announced at the IWSC Banquet on 28 November.