Drinking Victoria: Kyla Kirkpatrick

Published on 4 November 2020

Photo: Champagne Dame Kyla Kirkpatrick (credit: Jarrod Barnes)

Your guide to what's in the glass from those in the trade.

Kyla Kirkpatrick is an established authority on Champagne in Australia. Also known as the Champagne Dame, she began her journey into Champagne with a decision to quit her finance career in 2005 after she connected with Dan Ginsburg, the author of The Art of Business and Champagne, and decided to move to Paris to pursue her passion. Many years spent in France created a deep understanding of Champagne’s families and culture, resulting in a network of producer relationships that have lasted to this day – with their products sold via her online retailer Emperor Champagne and shared with Australians via her Champagne Dame Masterclasses and events. After experiencing exceptional growth at Emperor during lockdown, Kirkpatrick decided to embark on a new project to keep her team focussed and inspired, launching Fizztopia, an online store offering a best-in-class range of craft beers and ciders, seltzers, sparkling wines and non-alcoholic drinks.

The last three delicious things I drank were Louis Roederer Vintage Rosé 2013, a Brady's Lookout Premium 2017 Vintage Cider, and a Race Day Pilsner from St Andrews Beach Brewery.

As far as I’m concerned, the defining place to get a drink in Melbourne is Bar Carolina. The service is as good as being in Europe and it's charming and cosy but vibrant and lively. And I can't wait to get back there soon.

When someone hands me a wine list in a restaurant, I go straight to the sparkling section!

The Victorian spirit I’m loving most right now is people's willingness to follow the rules, even though it's difficult, knowing it's for the good cause of getting us back on track sooner.

There’s no better value on wine list or in a bottle-shop in this state than Sabre from Mitchell Harris wines.

My favourite place to buy booze is Fizztopia, of course.

I’d love to see us fermenting more cider in Victoria. We have the right climate for growing, and a couple of fantastic producers, but it seems to be a bit of a dying art. I fear some 'quick fix' drinks are taking too much attention. The production of real cider is really an art.

My guilty pleasure in the drinks cabinet or at the bar is whisky. It's a secret love and I'm a big, smoky, peaty Scottish whisky drinker.

The best or most important change to the way we drink in Victoria in recent years has been about drinking less, but drinking better. People seeking quality and craftsmanship in their booze and enjoying what small, artisanal producers are creating.

Visit Fizztopia to fill your fridge with all things that fizz, with nation-wide delivery and free standard shipping on orders over $120. You can also see the latest fizz offerings over on @fizztopiaworld, and keep up with the Dame at @thechampagnedame.

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