Curly Haslam-Coates: Vintage Tasmania
Tasmania’s idyllic scenery and burgeoning food and wine industry attracted Curly Haslam-Coates half way across the world, and she’s never looked back
The trip to Tasmania was one that Curly Haslam-Coates felt she was always destined to make. After winning a study trip to the destination of her choice following the completion of her wine and spirits qualifications in the United Kingdom in 2007, she stumbled across an image of a well-known Tasmanian wine brand, and in that moment her decision to visit Tasmania was made.
“I only spent a few days in Tasmania. But the beautiful, rugged scenery and amazing produce was something I couldn’t forget.”
Within two years of her visit, the allure of the island state called Curly back from her homeland in Yorkshire, England. By then, she was fully immersed in her passion – discovering how to create the best wine and spirits – and she felt it was in Tasmania that her craft could thrive.
“Josef Chromy Wines sponsored me to come out to Tasmania because I could bring my Wine and Spirits Education Trust qualification to the state.
I was surprised that I had skills that weren’t here. There’s a lot of talent in wine production, whereas I had the specialist skills and knowledge in post-production.”
Over the last decade, the 41 year-old has established herself as Tasmania’s leading wine and spirit educator; offering courses for professional wine makers and enthusiasts alike.
“The courses explore the main types and styles of wine through sight, smell, and taste, while also helping people to gain the basic skills to describe wines accurately, and make good food and wine pairings.
It’s all about being able to communicate what’s going on in the glass and what potential the wine or spirit has,” she says.
“For people wanting to delve deeper into the world of wines, there’s a qualification that provides a detailed understanding of grape growing and wine making, spirit production, wine regions and styles, and the global trade in wines and spirits.
The demand is high. I’m the only one in the state that’s offering these courses at the moment.”
And it’s not just her love of wine and sparkling that keeps Curly dedicated. The opportunity to help organise and promote the weekly Harvest Launceston market back in 2015, brought her other love to the fore.
“It’s food and drink for me, it’s not just one or the other, so it’s been great to have been given the chance to explore both. I feel fortunate to have helped run the Launceston farmers market for a couple of years. It’s been amazing to get to know some of the producers, getting to understand what grows well here and really relishing the amazing quality.”
She says the food and wine industry is dynamic and has grown considerably in the time she has called Tasmania home.
“There are a lot of people here that are really committed to seeing a long term food and wine industry.
It’s so rewarding living in Tasmania because it has such potential. Our food and our wines really work well together, the industry is expanding, we’ve got some really amazing people who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and I’m loving the way it’s all going.
More than one and a half million tourists per year are visiting Tasmania, and they want to eat and drink while they are here. It’s one of the drawcards, people like what we’re doing.
We’ve got so much talent on our teeny island and it’s just amazing – I love it.”
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