I am Melbourne-based Wine Educator, Consultant and writer. I hold the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma – the precursor qualification to the Master of Wine; and am a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2017 I became a certified educator for WSET and regularly teach Level 1 through to Diploma at Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne.
A viewing of my LinkedIn profile will reveal that I am very familiar with the career mobility that is becoming the hallmark of my generation. I have worked as a Pharmacist, a professional Actor in addition to various roles in the wine industry – training, hospitality, retail and sales.
If you haven’t guessed so far, I love wine. I certainly wasn’t born into this world though. My father doesn’t drink and my mother buys her wine from shop-a-dockets. During my first degree, while my mates were smashing through jugs of XXXX (I lived in Brisbane at the time), I was negotiating the perils of uni-pub wine lists. Most of my decisions were made based on label design but I gradually began to identify which grape varieties I liked. After uni, while on a holiday in Melbourne, I decided to visit the Yarra Valley and found my way to a cellar door wine tasting – I was hooked. The next few years saw me basing all my holidays around visiting wine regions. A few years later I found myself back in Melbourne as an auditioning actor. Needing a night job, I stumbled my way into a job making cocktails in a tiki bar – with no experience whatsoever. Pharmacy turned out to provide some solid translatable skills so within a few months I was topping cocktails sales.
My life changed at 3am one Sunday morning. Being a tiki bar, all our drinks were topped with pieces of fresh fruit, which often made their way onto the floor. These bits of fruit would jam the cleaner’s vacuum so during pack-down we would have to pick up half-chewed pieces of pineapple. That morning I remarked wryly that I always thought my life would amount to more than this. One of my colleagues asked me simply “What do you love?”. I replied, without qualification or analysis (unusual for me) “Wine, I love wine”. To which he responded “Just go do wine then, you are in Melbourne!”. By 4am I had returned home, googled “Wine courses Melbourne” and sent off an email to enrol in my first course.
I want more people to enjoy wine. Champagne and Chips was created to help people feel comfortable in the often confusing and sometimes alienating world of wine. What I hope to create here is some inspiration to try new things. I also love food. Enjoying food is one of the most achievable and uniting day-to-day activities we have.
I am a chatter, a communicator, a connector so please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question on my blog posts (or connect with me on Instagram).
I’m beyond excited by this whole thing.
Aww thank you fabulous woman x
Ha! You had me at “salted caramel surrounded by peanut butter baked into a cake and dipped in chocolate”
Haha, welcome 🙂
So lovely to meet you Nicole! What a diverse background and how wonderful you have gone to the ‘wine’ side. Love your writing style and look forward to following 🙂
Your blog name is genius! Basically Champagne and Chips are my two weaknesses in life! 🙂 Found your blog via the Blog Society facebook page and I love it!
Thank you! Am quite partial to your blog name too. Heading over for a squizz 🙂
Hi Nicole, wow – this sounds like my kind of blog – champagne and chips, yum and yum, well actually I would prefer a chardy but that’s ok.
We don’t discriminate here Miss Chardy- all wine is (very) welcome 🙂
Nicole… I’m with you on your approach to wine and food! Have you tried some of the big red blends by Dave Phinney of Orin Swift? We have yet to meet a bottle we didn’t like. Sometimes, after the first sip we simply look at each other, shut our eyes, and then shake our heads in disbelief…
Wow, they sound incredible. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ve ever seen any Orin Swift wines in Australia- do you know if they are imported? I will have to keep an eye out.
Love your Clever Bechamel Sauce!
I sell Hackit in my shop so I was intrigued to see your challenge.
Can’t wait to try it myself.
Thanks so much for dropping by Roz. I think Hackits will go really well for christmas gifts.
I just found your blog today via Woog’s World. I think we may be kindred spirits – so much in common and I just love the way you write and your style (personal and home!).
Sorry to come on a bit strong but I just had to say, I love what you’ve done here and I’ll be a regular from now on! 🙂
Such lovely words Alexandra, thank you and welcome 🙂
Do you write a blog too? I would love to check it out. I look forward to getting to know you
Great story and i love strong characters. hope to meet you soon.