for people who love champagne and all things sparkling!

Tag: Food and Wine Match

Tips for staying bubbly with sparkling

When it comes to waking up feeling fresh after a night out, bubbles often get a bad wrap, and I see it as one of my missions in life to help people understand what the issue might really be and develop the art of indulging without the headache.

When I tell people about The Bubbles Review, mostly I get an excited response, but sometimes people tell me that “I tried champagne when I was younger and it made me sick, so I haven’t drunk it since.”

My next question is to ask when that was. If it was as a teenager, I then ask if they know what they drank? My response is usually that is more likely the quality of the fizz they were drinking, than it was champagne. And it is probably more than likely that they were not actually drinking champagne!

“Bubbles gives me a headache.” Once I again, I tend to ask a few more questions. I would suggest that it was the quality (and perhaps the quantity) of the drink, not the bubbles.

If I am handed a glass of bubbles at a function and I don’t know what it is, and at first sip I get a hint of a headache in the making, I’ll sit out and drink a glass of something else, even sparkling water. I’d rather feel good the next day than drink bad wine, and life is too short to drink bad sparkling!

I also ask what they drank after the champagne? The story then leads onto the other drinks they had. I find mixing the drinks is often the issue. If I stick to good champagne or sparkling and drink water in between, I wake up fresh the next day.

Tasting sparklings in tasting pours and having little food tastes in between is one of my favourite ways to try sparkling wine. It’s a great way to test to see the different wine styles that you like, and it is why we chose this format for one of our main events – The Bubbles Festival. Even with tasting pours though, the amount you taste can be surprising. We do indicate that to our guests before they come, and a 2-hour tasting session is the perfect amount of time to taste a responsible amount and still leave bubbly. If you then go and drink more afterwards, that’s not the result from our event!

I sat in on an interview with Clovis Taittinger from Champagne Taittinger a few years ago, and I loved one of his quotes – “Taittinger will look after you.” You’ll still wake up fresh the next day.  

But let’s add a bit of scientific research into the mix.

Bubbles go straight to my head!

There have been a few scientific studies conducted at different universities around the world that indicate that with bubbles, you get a faster rate of absorption. It is thought that the carbon dioxide (bubbles) move the alcohol through your system more quickly. This can produce higher blood alcohol levels (and brain levels), if you drink sparkling wine as opposed to something non-carbonated. It’s also been mentioned that this effect may also occur with carbonate mixers in other alcoholic drinks and drinking carbonated water along with wine. I’ve then read interpretations that some scientists go on to say that it is this that makes the hangover worse and to avoid champagne. I would argue that there could still be a range of factors to consider. My personal interpretation is that if it moves the alcohol through your system more quickly, and you pace yourself accordingly, and have a gap between glasses and stay hydrated in between, then you’ll be more likely to have it out of your system earlier.

We want to keep those beautiful bubbles! Not only do they add to the mouth feel and experience of them bursting onto your palate, but they also contribute to the flavour and aroma of champagne, because they oxygenate the wine after it’s poured and this diffuses compounds in the wine with them as they rise.

And you’re consuming less alcohol than with a lot of still wines (or spirits), as most sparkling wines are lower in alcohol. Proseccos are usually around 11%, and champagne and other sparklings around 12–12.5%. Other wines are usually around 13–15%.

This article includes my interpretation of information and personal opinion. I’m not a scientist, or a medical expert, so if you are having reactions from drinking bubbles then please seek further advice. We do not suggest that anything in this article represents medical advice or a replacement for medical advice.

A small sip gives me a headache – let’s explore some possible causes.

It’s the sulfites

There is a heap of research about this, and at The Bubbles Review we try to keep things simple, rather than quoting all the scientific data. I’ll break it down to a few points that might be of interest, and if it piques your interest or concern, I suggest you investigate further.

At our Sparkling Masterclasses and The Bubbles Festivals, I often get asked about sulfites. It’s like a ‘buzz word’ that people have decided they are bad without really knowing anything about them.

Sulfites are found naturally on grapes, and sulfur is also commonly added in small amounts at the beginning of fermentation and prior to bottling. Typically, red wines have about 50–350 ppm (parts per million), and white wines have more because of the sensitivity to light, heat, and discoloration with about 250–450 ppm. The general litmus test for sulfites sensitivity is dried fruit. Dried mangos and apricots contain about 4–10 times as many sulfites as wine (1,000–3,000 ppm).

Preservative (INS 220) (popularly known as sulphur dioxide), is a food additive that is used as a food and wine preservative. Its main role is to prevent enzymatic and bacterial spoilage of food products. The use of sulphur dioxide goes back to Roman times, where they would use it to help preserve wine. It is commonly added in foods and beverages like dried fruits, pickled vegetables, sausages, fruit and vegetable juices, cider vinegar and wine.

Preservative (E 224) is a food additive that is a well-established and proven preservative used in the wine and food industries. It is a white crystalline powder that is a potassium salt of sulphurous acid. Preservative (E 224) is commonly added to wine or must (crushed grape juice – that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit) in which it forms sulfur dioxide gas (SO2). This helps prevent micro-organisms from growing, and it acts as an antioxidant, protecting the colour and delicate flavours of wine. It is also used to preserve the taste of dehydrated foods and makes these foods more palatable. It is also used to preserve frozen vegetables, frozen shellfish, fruit juice, and pickles and increases their shelf-life.

About 1% of the population is allergic to sulphites and some people have a reaction to certain preservatives – namely 220 and 224 – that are often found in wine. These allergic reactions can be severe, and if you think it is a concern, it is a good idea to get tested. It is because of the health concern for the sensitive population, depending on the country you’re in, wines with sulfites (the limit amount may vary in different countries), anything above 10 ppm must be labeled with ‘contains sulfites’.

From the research that I have read, for most of us it is probably more likely the tannins or a reaction to another compound. Here is a breakdown of a few:

Sulfites – Naturally occurring substances in wine that are created as part of the fermentation process. Additional sulfites are often added to wine prevent oxidation and maintain freshness. Sulfites also naturally exist in eggs, teas, and other fermented foods, plus sulfites are added to other foods (like baked goods) to help maintain freshness.

Tannins – Naturally-existing compounds in plants with extremely astringent properties, contributing to bitterness and the dry mouth feeling present in bold wines (such as cabernet). Tannins are heavily present in all parts of the grape plant (seeds, skins, and stems), therefore red wines (that are typically fermented with these parts), tend to have more tannins than white wines. They are less present in most sparklings, as they don’t typically spend time on skins after pressing. This is certainly something to keep in mind, as some people are sensitive to tannins.

Tyramine – Another natural food-based phenomenon, this compound is created from the breakdown of a specific amino acid and is also often found in aged or fermented foods like cheese and wine. High amounts of tyramine in the blood can affect blood pressure.

Histamine – Yet another compound created through the fermentation process, histamine is also produced by the body’s immune system. A specific enzyme is needed to process histamine and those with lower levels of this enzyme may experience adverse effects.

There are some producers making sulfite-free wines, and this could be something for you to explore. If you’re have a reaction with sulfite-free wines, some recent research suggests that the culprit is more likely to be a group of compounds called biogenic amines (BA). Present in all fermented food and drink, BAs increase with food spoilage. They’re produced from amino acids via enzymic activity in living organisms like microbes, most often a subset of bacteria. The best-known biogenic amine – histamine – is produced when microbes remove carbon dioxide from the amino acid histidine. Histamine is also produced by the body and is involved in immune and allergic responses.

Cheap Fizz

There are many methods and tools that winemakers use to make wine, and with sparkling this includes the first fermentation process to create the still wine, and then the second fermentation process to create the bubbles. 

For the second fermentation, it takes years to create a traditional method sparkling, which is why this wine will usually have a higher price tag. Quicker methods are the Charmat or Tank Method, which can be done in weeks. It has spent time on lees (yeast), which creates complexity, but not a great length of time or concentrated as it is not in bottle but in a large tank. It creates a wine displaying more fruitier characteristics. Another method that is used that is the cheapest method is pure carbonation. This is adding Co2 to a still wine – yes just like a soda stream!

Spumante just means Sparkling Wine in Italian. But if you were drinking sparkling wine in Australia in the 70s and 80s, you may remember colloquially the ‘spu’ part of this word was used to describe some wines. The trend was for very sweet and cheap wines on the market. Don’t let the name fool you, we have some lovely sparkling wines from Italy available in Australia today. If you see the name Spumante on the bottle, it just means sparkling, no need to think back to your teenage years.

Cheaper wines can often mean cheaper processes, or additives to try to emulate qualities of more complex wines. This can include higher alcohol and added sugar. Price is not always an indicator, but it often is.

Sugar in wines

We are noticing a trend for low or no sugar wines on the market. Looking after your health by seeking drinks that are low in sugar is a good idea. The good news is most sparklings are already low in sugar! If it says Brut on the label, which most champagnes are, it is somewhere between zero to less than 12 gms of residual sugar. If it says Extra Brut, it is the drier scale of Brut at below 6 gms, and Brut Nature or Brut Zero is 0–2 gms. Confusingly, higher than Brut on the sweetness scale is Extra Dry – you’ll often see Italian sparklings like Prosecco in this range, which is 12–17gms. Then it goes Dry, Half Dry then Doux, which is sweet at 50gms or more. I have noticed some companies promoting champagnes in the Brut Nature or Extra Brut as Keto wines. Yes, they are ‘Keto’, but they are designed for the wine style not a diet, just look for Brut Nature on the label. In the Extra-Brut range, it calculates at up to around 0.9 carbs per serving. Brut is up to 1.8 carbs per serving. Compare that to a potato at around 37 carbs. And your glass of bubbly is low calorie too, with the Brut range at less than 100 calories. You don’t need to buy bubbly sold as low sugar, just learn to read the labels. If you are interested to discover more about sweetness levels and labels, we cover this in our Tasting Techniques Masterclass in our online Bubbly Appreciation Course.

Now that we’ve finished the research bit, here are a few tips for staying bubbly!

Moderation – of course, consumption of alcohol in moderation is recommended.

Keep hydrated – it’s often easy to forget but keep hydrated and drink a glass of water for each glass of bubbles.

Eat something when you drink – food helps absorb alcohol. Champagne and sparkling wine is often served as a ‘pre’, an aperitif, the drink that you have before a meal. I do argue that champagne can definitely be paired with a full course menu, and I opt for this and tend to stick to champagne all evening. It’s also why we include food at our events including The Bubbles Festival. A good food match can also enhance the food and wine experience, as well as providing some absorption for the alcohol.

Invest in quality sparkling – if you’re drinking in moderation and staying hydrated, and still waking feeling ‘dusty’, it may be the quality of wine that you’re drinking. As I’ve matured in age (just like a fine wine), I’ve changed my preference to quality over quantity. I’d much rather have one glass of something of quality than more than that of cheap fizz. If you’re getting a headache from bubbles, it could from methods of cheap winemaking, which are often high in residual sugar and other additives.

Investigate the reaction

There are a lot of factors that can be causing a reaction. You could try some alcohol-free days in your week to see if it changes how you wake in the morning. I know when I had some gut health issues, I was still waking with low energy, even if I hadn’t had bubbles, and I understood there were other lifestyle aspects that needed to be addressed. If it is of concern, then seeking medical assistance and getting tested for allergies may be of benefit.

If you think it is a histamine reaction, tannins do cause reactions in some people and headaches are a possibility. If you are sensitive to tannins, then you may also have that reaction when drinking red wine or tea. Tyramine may also be to blame, as it can affect blood pressure and has also been suggested to cause headaches. If you also get a headache after eating aged cheeses, smoked fish or cured meat independently of wine, this may be a sign you have a tyramine sensitivity. You could investigate these and if it is the case with these, it is probably the same with all wines, not just bubbles. Antihistamines might be a relief if you find yourself suffering from this.  

While sulfites can trigger reactions, and it seems that this is not typically headaches. There isn’t much science supporting the link with sulfites and headaches. Wine contains about 10 times fewer sulfites than dried fruits and several other foods, and if you’re not having a reaction to these, the sulfites in wine are probably not affecting you either.

On the other hand, for those of you who know or think you might be part of the 1% of the population who is allergic to sulphites or have a reaction to certain preservatives, avoiding products containing these are one solution. There are also a few products making their way onto the market that are aimed at helping you lower tannin and sulfite levels in wine, as well as rehydrate after a couple of glasses. While they are not TGA (or FDA in USA) approved treatments, they offer some interesting options. I recently tested Glow After, a product that you add a drop into your glass to negate the presence of sulphites. I tried it at home with a few different glasses of sparkling, and I detected a slight difference in aroma, bead, and flavour after adding (but I do have a sensitive nose and palate). If you think you’re having a reaction to preservatives, this could be something to try. This brand is Australian-owned by two female entrepreneurs based in Newcastle, NSW. The purpose of the preservatives to keep the wine pristine before you open it, but they are not necessary once the wine is poured. This product claims that by adding a drop, the level of sulphites left in your glass is so little that it is considered preservative free.

Bubbles with low or no alcohol

If you wanted to lower your alcohol consumption, there are new no or low alcohol wines coming onto the market that include sparklings. This can be a good way to still be out enjoying being social drinks with friends. I haven’t tested them but let me know if you do and if you have any feedback. Here are a few things to consider when choosing no or low alcohol alternatives.  

Fermentation to create wine is what creates the alcohol. Winemakers work with this fermentation to get the desired end result of alcohol for their drink. It is also part of what creates the body in wine.

Some non-alcoholic wines are created using wine grape varieties that haven’t gone through the vinification process. They are really a varietal grape juice – pressed to get juice, but never fermented. More likely to be fresh and fruity like a juice.

What is becoming more prevalent is dealcoholized wine, going a step further than bottled varietal juice by taking fully vinified wine and then removing the alcohol. This process is more likely to produce something that tastes more like a ‘normal wine’. Some people tell me they can’t tell the difference.

Then there are Proxies. As the name suggests – a proxy is someone with the authority to represent someone else – they are not really a wine but are designed to emulate wine. Unlike dealcoholized wine, which is a wine first and then has the alcohol removed, proxies are made by layering ingredients like varietal wine grapes, fruits, teas, spices, bitters, and more, to produce the complexity, tannin, texture, acid, and body intrinsic in wine. Many proxies are designed specifically with a food pairing in mind. It does make me think it would be more like an iced tea that tastes like wine, or maybe a wine mixed with spice.

Don’t drink late at night

My favourite time for bubbles is lunch, afternoon, or early evening. Start early, home early. Time to recover before bed. You’ll see the timing for our events reflects this trend as well. Alcohol is known to cause dehydration, drops blood sugar levels, depletes minerals, and can disrupt your sleep. A good tip is to finish early (after dinner at latest), and drink a few glasses of water after your bubbles. Make sure you have a few alcohol-free hours before bed. It will help take out that 4am wakeup call you sometimes get after drinking alcohol (which alternative medicine practitioners have told me is the time your liver wakes you up processing the days events).

Have a bubbly morning

Ok, we like it for breakfast too! It’s the breakfast of celebrities, according to the quote from Marilyn Monroe “I go to bed with a few drops of Chanel No. 5, and I wake up each morning to a glass of Piper-Heidsieck; it warms me up.” As much as I love a champagne breakfast (and I do this on special occasions a couple of times a year), I’m not suggesting we take wellness advice from celebrities or that you drink champagne for breakfast daily. I find a glass of good quality sparkling mineral water will give you a lift in the morning – not just soda water, as it is the mineral replacement that makes the difference.

At The Bubbles Review we like to debunk the myths and make the art of drinking champagne and sparkling wine accessible. We do that with our blog, our courses, and events and tours. If you found this article interesting you may also like our:

Bubbly Appreciation Course

Events and Tours

The Bubbles Festival

Why that is not a glass of champagne that you are drinking

Stay bubbly – cheers!

Like to keep following us, get first look at events, receive bubbly information and be in our giveaway draws and have a chance to win a bubbly prize? You can join our list, it’s FREE to join here.

Natalie Pickett is the Founder of The Bubbles Review which is for people who like champagne and other bubbles, written by people who have a love of all things sparkling! At The Bubbles Review, we like to debunk some myths, make the art of drinking champagne accessible, explore bubbly regions and champagne bars, and provide events for you to join us and indulge.

Bubbly border hopping – delivering The Bubbles Festival during a pandemic!

My name is Natalie Pickett, and many of you will know me as the Founder of The Bubbles Review and Creator of The Bubbles Festival. Recently, I have had the honour of being interviewed about The Bubbles Review in major publications in the USA (the links to the articles are at the end of this post), and I thought it would be a great idea to share some insight with you about where the idea for The Bubbles Review came from and a behind the scenes look at what it took to deliver the recent sold-out Bubbles Festivals across Australia in the middle of a global pandemic!

As a serial entrepreneur, I have founded multiple businesses, with both 6 and 7 figure success stories. I have had my share of triumphs and so called ‘failures’. After closing my travel company during the GFC, I established a successful consulting, mentoring and speaking business. I like to operate from my core values, one of which is ‘fun’, which we can forget to make a priority in business. I love being able to share this knowledge with others, to help them to take their business, and daily life, from surviving to thriving.

The Bubbles Review is my passion business. The ‘Aha!’ moment was a culmination of two things. The first was that I had always loved champagne and sparkling wine. For my 18th birthday I had a champagne luncheon. I love the stories, the romance, the glamour of it. 

The other ‘Aha!’ moment came to me at a marketing seminar when the presenter mentioned that because he had wine review websites, he claimed his wine purchases as a tax deduction. And at that moment, I knew my review blog would be about sparkling wine. Once I did the business case it was an easy ‘Yes!’, and I could incorporate my travel industry skills to run events and tours. Creating a business that means you get paid to drink champagne is awesome, and we’ve been listed in the top champagne blogs in different countries around the world, which is also pretty amazing!

The keys to success with each of my businesses is that they all come from my passion, my core values, and my desire to contribute and share my knowledge with others. When they become stressful, I remind myself that business and life is supposed to be fun. Our businesses should work for us, not the other way around.

I have purposely kept the pace of growth of this business at a level that doesn’t become overwhelming. This is important, because The Bubbles Review is my bubbly passion project. The number 1 priority is that it should be fun – for me, and everyone who shares the bubbly joy with me.

The idea for what has become our signature event – The Bubbles Festival – came to me in a meditation one morning, and I like to think that it was divinely inspired.  I mentioned it to a friend who owned an art space, and he was very enthusiastic and provided the venue free of charge so that I could deliver the inaugural The Bubbles Festival in April 2017. The first one was about testing to see if it was of interest – both for exhibitors to showcase their champagne and sparkling wine and ticket holders to the event. The inaugural Bubbles Festival (and a follow-up event in October 2017), received very positive feedback, with patrons giving the event 5 stars.

Postponing The Bubbles Festival in 2020 was incredibly disappointing, particularly because it was the first time that I was taking the event nationally. It was also very costly, as by the time restrictions on mass gatherings across the country were imposed, we’d already expended a lot of the advertising budget. I had appointed team members in other states to assist with set up and had paid deposits to venues. Moving the events meant that most of that expenditure was lost, except for the venues who were accommodating in finding solutions and refunding larger deposits. Not all venues managed this well, but most did.

Delivering The Bubbles Festival in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in 2021 was no mean feat! The invitation for exhibitors was sent in February, which was later than usual, as I tried to forecast restrictions. We had some exhibitors who were still committed since 2020, as well as new wonderful exhibitors who enthusiastically signed up, but by March, restrictions were still fluctuating, so some were wanting to wait and see before committing.

Ticket holders, on the other hand, were ‘champing’ at the bit.  I think that having been under restrictions for so long, people were so happy to be out and about, meeting likeminded people and drinking bubbly. Almost every session was sold out, and in some locations, the whole event was sold out in a matter of weeks, and people were writing to me begging for tickets, and offering to pay more to attend.

I designed the event just like I would if I was arranging for people to come to my home. That’s why everything is included – a lovely glass, canapés, and a welcoming introduction on sparkling wine from me. Once people are at the event, they don’t need to keep paying for extras like more tastings or food – they just relax, mingle and enjoy the bubbly experience.

Anyone who has planned events before will know there are always challenges, but COVID added a whole new dimension. Capacity restrictions were moved up and down several times, and every state had their own version of conditions around public gatherings.

My experience of 30 years in travel and events gave me the confidence to be able to deliver, and Melbourne kicked off the series and was a great success. After achieving the record for the most locked down city in the world in 2020, people were excited to be out enjoying being social and drinking bubbles. It was so exciting to be hosting this event – a much needed and long overdue celebration!

“We had great fun and loved the available selection of French champagne and sparkling wines. The accompanying canapés were delicious too! Looking forward to attending future Bubbles Festivals.” ~ Leanne Turner

“Fun night out with friends who truly appreciate fine champagne and all things bubbly.” ~ Kate Cadet

“Great way to spend the afternoon!” ~ Rick McLeod

“A lovely way to spend a couple of hours trying and learning about the bubbles, the background to them, food pairing and meeting other like-minded souls.” ~ Janet MacLeish

“I love the evening. The only drawback was that I wish it was longer. In saying that, I would still come again and enjoy it just as much.  Thank you for a great night out!” ~ Betheia Lele

The next day, there were hints that Perth (the location for the event on the next weekend), may go into lockdown – and on Monday, the Western Australian (WA) Premier announced the restrictions. We could probably have proceeded, but everyone would need to be wearing masks, and from a safety point of view, you don’t want to put your patrons at risk and you certainly do not want your event to be listed as an exposure site. The difficult decision was made to move the Perth event forward at least 6 weeks to give time for the case numbers to go down and for restrictions around public gatherings to return to a point where the ticket holders in Perth could enjoy the event at its most celebratory.

As I was dealing with the date changes for Perth, and finalising post event activities for Melbourne, I received a message from a cousin of Michelle (our Sydney-based Event Manager), who was writing to advise me that Michelle had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. We were only 4 weeks out from the Sydney event and Michelle had been assisting us with preparations, including sourcing a new venue (the lovely RACA), student helpers and securing some late exhibitor sign ups. I had known Michelle for many years through our different roles in tourism. She was a consummate professional and beautiful soul. I was devasted for her husband and family, and I cried for days. The only good thing that came out of moving the dates of the Perth event, was that I was free to travel to Sydney to attend Michelle’s funeral later that week.

I had planned to stay overnight after Michelle’s funeral, but there were news reports of COVID infections and exposure sites in different parts of the city, including the area we were currently in for Michelle’s wake. There was an announcement that Sydney would enforce restrictions from 5pm that evening, and I realised that if I stayed, I would run the risk of having to quarantine when going back to Victoria, and therefore not be able to get to Brisbane and Adelaide for the next two events. I quickly changed my flight, said my goodbyes and headed for the airport. I made it safely back to Melbourne before any issues arose about having been in Sydney.

Our Brisbane Bubbles Festival was the next event, and although there were fluctuating concerns since a lockdown about a month prior (which prevented me from visiting for a pre-event site visit), we were safely able to proceed with Brisbane without too many disruptions. The event sold out within 2 weeks of the tickets being released. We had a waitlist and were eventually able to release more tickets to the waitlist as capacity restrictions were eased. Our WA exhibitors couldn’t travel to Queensland, as it was too risky for them to get caught in another state due to WA’s strict COVID border controls. We made arrangements to staff their stands, and the event was a great success with many people coming to thank me for arranging such a wonderful celebration during these incredibly challenging times.

“We really enjoyed our first Bubbles Festival event and would recommend it to our friends!” ~ Peta Shiels

“The Bubbles Festival was a welcome relaxed Evening. Informative as much as social and some wonderfully attired folks who made an effort which pairs with the Classic Architecture and history of the Building.” ~  Anya Slinn            

“A delightful sensation for the nose and palate.  Fabulous selection of Bubbly and Canapés to complement. I am also happy to say the wines I enjoyed most were both from Australian wine makers. Well done Natalie for a great event. See you at the next one 😘🤗🥂” ~ Jane Dewit

“Very well organised & great selection.” ~ Ingrid Ostbye

“A very bubbly evening thank you 🥂” ~ Kerrie Hodgson

“A wonderful way to taste some interesting bubbles from Australia and overseas.” ~ Peter Ryan

“I am so glad I found out about this event. If you get a chance to come and join in the future, do it. Meet new people learn more about bubbles. What more can I say!” ~ Loretta Carmichael

“A fabulous night in an amazing venue. It was a wonderful opportunity to discover some new sparkling wines complemented perfectly by the selection of canapés. Would definitely go again!” ~ Rachel Hodgson

“Fantastic night with great bubbles and canapes – learned a lot! Beautiful venue with views over the river and lights on the bridge added to the atmosphere.” ~ Debbie          

“My first experience and not my last. It was refreshingly educational, enjoyable and a wonderful way to start the weekend. Fantastic!” ~ Chris Hodgson

“A fun & educational event, can’t wait for the next one!” ~ Lesley Harris

Our next stop was Adelaide, and we were blessed with no major breakout. South Australian (SA) border restrictions were pretty risk adverse, so it was a bit touch and go. Victoria had recently recorded a few cases and SA had closed the border to anyone from Victoria who had been in an identified hotspot. Lucky for me, I had not. Arriving at Adelaide airport, I waited in a long queue as border officials checked entry permits on incoming flights from Victoria. The Adelaide event was sold out, and I had people writing to me begging for tickets and offering to pay more. Fortunately, due to the easing of some restrictions, we were able to release a small number of new tickets, which sold out in just two days!

“What a fabulous afternoon filled with quality bubbles – looking forward to the next one and bringing more friends along 🥂🥂🥂 – thanks Natalie 🥂” ~ Julie Johnston

 “A fun way to get together with friends and learn more about the art of Bubbles… with a great range of local produce all in one easy location.” ~  Sharon Gulley-Frith

“A great event showcasing local bubbles with comprehensive tasting notes and friendly producers. Well orchestrated- thank you.” ~ Sarah Vaile

“Great fun day with excellent bubbles!!” ~ Faye Lorain

“Just a great way to spend a few hours, delightful selection of sparkling with knowledgeable wine experts, some tasty nibbles and fun.” ~ Fiona Rich

“Bubbles, bubbles, much more than froth and trouble, even though too many could lead to it!” ~ Anita Zocchi                          

“Had a great time tasting different bubbles with friends!” ~ Amy Blackmore         

“Had a great time and the VIP experience was well worth it.  Would come again.” ~ Cheryl Lees

“The best educational tasting & girls day out I’ve been to in the city!” ~ Ashleigh

“Highly recommend the Bubbles festival. Went with 3 friends and had a ladies’ day out. Full of fun and met new people tasting many wines. Had a great day and can’t wait for the next one. “ ~ Sue Lushington               

“I would thoroughly recommend the bubbles festival to all my friends, I had a very enjoyable experience.”

As we moved through the series of Bubbles Festivals, I kept getting the feeling that everything would be okay. It was like we’d found this level of flow that was allowing us to gently navigate the challenges of the uncertainty of so many factors and conditions.

With Adelaide under our belts, I returned home to Melbourne. By this time, exposure sites were growing, and by Tuesday, one of the sites listed as a concern was the MCG during a crowded football match. SA had closed their border to all of Victoria, so we were lucky to have been able to hold the Adelaide event only days before. I was booked to fly to Sydney for our event that coming weekend, but looking like a lockdown could be imminent, I wondered if I should try to get on an earlier flight. I checked availability and there were seats, but at about 10 times the price I had paid. My flight was around 1.30pm the next day, and I decided it would be okay. It was totally nerve wracking waiting for the press conference as I prepared to leave for the airport. The Victorian Government announced that the state would go into the lockdown at 5pm that day. I checked the NSW response, and by that stage they hadn’t imposed any border restrictions for Victorians, but I wasn’t going to ‘count my chickens’ until I was through the arrivals lounge on the other side. I boarded my flight and hoped for the best. 

When we landed in Sydney, I checked my phone and there was a text from my mother saying “Are you there yet? You need to be in by 4pm!” It was just after 2.30pm, so I was there just in time to avoid the ‘stay at home’ orders that were being imposed on anyone arriving from Victoria. The Sydney event was another success, with two sold out sessions. We received glowing reviews and the event was lots of fun. 

“What a fabulous way to spend two hours, educational and fun. Can’t wait till next time.” ~ Simone Messenger

“All the suppliers were very knowledgeable and accommodating. Tasting notes help you to remember who had which wine. Loved it all!!” ~ Johanne Champness

“What a fabulous event!! So happy get on board with this event!! Do yourself a favour – get out of your comfort zone of sparkling wine & champagne & go to The Bubbles Festival!!! You will be surprised & amazed!!” ~ Corinne Layton

“It was a great event and I highly recommend you catch the next one. The sooner the better!!” ~ Peter Robert Tuckey

“For a night of “Bubbles”, friends and a bit of learning too, this is a fun event to attend. We shall return. Thank you Natalie!” ~ Melinda Baderski

“A fabulous event! Natalie was a wonderful host, taking us through the art of tasting and finding our own ‘happy place’.” ~ Erin Noordeloos

“What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. See you next year.” ~ Janet Green

In the days after my arrival, I realised that returning home to Victoria (which was now in lockdown with an ever-growing list of COVID exposure sites), would risk the upcoming Perth event. The WA government had already closed the border to anyone arriving from Victoria, or who had been in Victoria during the dates of the outbreak, which was eventually changed to been in Victoria within 14 days of arrival.

An array of different logistical options were running around my head! ‘Should I stay, or should I go?’ The Perth event was 4 weeks away, and it was possible that things could clear in Victoria before the event – but it was a risk, and one that I wanted to mitigate. Having already postponed the event from 2020 to 2021, and then having to move it again only a few weeks ago, I wanted to do whatever I could to ensure that the event would run. I had some loyal and patient ticket holders who were still holding tickets from our pre-sales in late 2019. I didn’t want to move the event again. Yes, it was possible it could be run without me if I found someone locally to do it, but that wasn’t ideal because my followers were expecting me to be there.

I researched all the different state border options, looking for the best way to get to WA. Counting out days on the calendar, it worked out that I had exactly enough days to spend 14 days in NSW, which at this stage was mainly clear of COVID, to then arrive in WA with 14 days clear in case I needed to quarantine on arrival. If NSW stayed with low or no COVID cases, the plan would work. I cancelled and changed flight bookings. I had only packed for a few days in Sydney, so I shopped for essentials and my daughter kindly sent me some extra clothing from our home.

While I could have stayed in Sydney for the rest of the 14 days, I decided to see if Byron Bay was an option. I could rent an Airbnb room and have a nice time catching up with friends. I checked flights and they were available and cheap. If I was going to need to work remotely, then I would choose some special places to work from. As soon as I arrived in Byron, I knew I had made the right choice – I could feel the stress of the past few weeks just drift away.

I arrived back in Sydney the night before my flight to Perth and stayed at an airport hotel. Having done the amount of work I had done to be able to arrive safely in time for the Perth event, I didn’t want to take any risks of missed connections! Everything was looking fine for me to arrive without needing to quarantine, but I was still apprehensive about what would happen on arrival. After touchdown, we were advised that we would need to wait on board until the WA Police were available to meet the flight. We needed to have our border passes ready to be viewed, and there were signs to inform us to have our hands free so that we could be sanitised before proceeding.

At the head of the queue, there were two people in full PPE gowns, masks, and face shields – one person to take our temperature, and one to spray our hands with sanitizer. Once that was done, we visited a cubicle to respond to a police officer asking questions. I was incredibly relieved to be given the ‘all clear’ – free to enter the state and no quarantine!

I had a pre-event site inspection of the venue booked for that afternoon, and then I was also free to enjoy the rest of my plans, which were to travel to Broome the following day to stay at my Mum’s place. The irony was that she had travelled to Melbourne for her sister’s 80th birthday on the day that I flew into Sydney. She was now stranded in Melbourne, because even as a resident she was unable to return home to Broome without a 14-day quarantine period in Perth. While it was disappointing that I wouldn’t be able to spend some time with my Mum, if I needed to be working remotely, I was going to make the most of it. One of my clients had called my efforts ‘an odyssey’, and I agreed with that very apt description of the adventure I was on!

My dear friend Jane, who had been managing the door at the events, lives in northern NSW, and although NSW had remained a very low risk category, there were new cases starting to be recorded. I had become very good at predicting what would happen with restrictions and border closures, so Jane and I discussed options that would still allow her to make it into WA for the Perth event. I suggested that we book her onto a direct flight from Sydney to Broome the next day, but there were none. I knew that every passing day would mean an increase in cases in NSW and possible closure of the WA border to any arrivals from that state.

The new plan was to have Jane arrive in Perth early. By this stage the travel budget had been well and truly blown, so although it would mean a few extra nights’ accommodation, it would still be better than me trying to find and train extra staff only days before the event. Jane managed to get a booking to travel on the Monday to Perth. The WA border was still open but was changing whilst people were mid-air enroute, with an extra restriction for NSW arrivals – which was get a COVID test on arrival and isolate until getting a negative test result. There was a chance that the border would close or a 14-day quarantine period would be imposed, which would make her arrival obsolete as she wouldn’t be able to work at the event. We enquired about the alternative, which would mean Jane having to return to NSW on the next flight back. She was bringing the banners and some other event supplies and having already changed flights several times, it was now a very expensive airfare. We did joke about how expensive that would make it for just delivering the banners if she was to be turned away. But make it in she did, and the border closed to NSW arrivals the following day.

The Perth Bubbles Festival was another great, sold-out success. We received so many wonderful comments, and some of them were so lovely, that in my state of post-event series exhaustion they brought a tear to my eye. We’d done it! Five sell out events across the country, border hopping like fugitives, and working every angle or option to be able to deliver.

“It was a fun time and definitely recommend 💕” ~ Veronique Shepherd

“This is such a fantastic event; for those who truly love their bubbles and want to experience some that they wouldn’t ordinarily try.  Natalie is so knowledgeable!” ~ Kelly

“Best two hours of fun I’ve had for a long time and it was great to share it with friends and other lovely attendees 😊” ~ Marla Reid

“Thank you Natalie for organising a wonderful event.  It was an absolutely wonderful event and glad we held onto our tickets.  Third time we got there.  The atmosphere was awesome and got to chat to lovely fellow guests and exhibitors and of course the sparkling wines and Champagnes were fantastic.  Thanks again, looking forward to the next event.” ~ Jo-anne Kramer

“Thank you for bringing to WA a unique experience for the bubbly lovers. Having a very knowledgeable and passionate presenter-founder made the experience that extra bit more enjoyable. I look forward to the next one.” ~ Brenda Fenerty

“Fantastic night with many and varied bubbles from which to choose paired with a delicious grazing board! Well done 👍” ~ Allison Pivac     

“A well organised event with some fantastic sparklings showcased.” Louize Kang

“This was my first time at a Bubbles Festival and it was fabulous. I will definitely be back and so will my friends!” ~ Ceri Writer

“My Friend and I have a Fabulous afternoon as VIPs, the tastings were generous the Grazing table spectacular …. We are excited to attend any future events and have a few friends who are very keen to come with us.  An exceptional day which was enjoyable and extremely informative.” ~  Logan Nicholson

“The Bubbles Festival is a well organized fun event that is not only informative but great value for money.” ~ Ina Boxshall

“What a fabulous afternoon to enjoy with friends and to sample some amazing BUBBLES from our regions within Australia cannot wait for the next experience.” ~ Leonie Spencer

“Had a great evening at The Bubbles Festival and would recommend going to The Bubbles Review’s events!” ~ Monicka McDonough

“I thought I couldn’t love bubbles any more but I was wrong!! This experience was second to none! A classy yet relaxed vibe with access to all the best, new, interesting and popular bubbles, some of which were completely new to me. The VIP experience was to die for, a great privilege. Congratulations to Natalie and her team for putting this together in today’s climate. A true testament to her love of bubbles and a phenomenal way to share it with the country! I will definitely be on the lookout for the next event!!” ~ Jana Bartecki

“Thanks to Natalie, Jane and the WA team for such an amazing evening. Covid had delayed me enjoying my 2020 Mother’s Day gift until now. Totally worth the wait and can’t wait to partake in the next event. Thank you again & keep up the great bubbly work!!” ~ Isla Ferrarotto          

“Fabulous afternoon out at a boutique feeling event. Lovely champers and sparkling wines. We really enjoyed it, thank you for persisting in trying to stage it!!”

“A great afternoon with the chance to mingle with likeminded bubbly lovers. A fun afternoon full of great sparkling on offer thank you!” ~ Brooke O’Donnell

We’d planned to have some time in Perth on the Sunday before returning home on Monday. We were relaxing at the Fremantle markets on the Sunday morning when we were told that Perth was going into restrictions by midday that day. Venue capacities would be reduced, and masks were mandatory indoors. We had delivered the Perth event just in time! Perth would then declare a lockdown commencing later that day, and the Victorian Government declared Perth a medium risk zone. Upon my return to Melbourne, I was (perhaps ironically) required to get a COVID test and isolate. It didn’t matter, I was happy to be home. I joke that one of the things that I have collected in 2021 is the QR check in apps for almost all the states of Australia!

I feel very blessed that we were able to hold the national series of Bubbles Festivals. I did have plans for some smaller events and tours in the later part of this year, but it’s September and Melbourne is back in lockdown. Sydney is too. It is unlikely that there will be opportunities for events for the rest of the year, but I remain hopeful that we will get a clear run for 2022. The plan is to take The Bubbles Festival to more locations in Australia, and eventually New Zealand, the USA and UK. I am also optimistic that we may even be able to hold our tour to Champagne in 2022, but perhaps that will be 2023.

Whilst working remotely in Broome, I had seen an opportunity to be a co-author in a book that was being published in the USA – Becoming an Unstoppable Woman! I submitted an application and at my interview, they asked me to tell them a bit about myself. I said ‘Sure. Let me tell you about my latest unstoppable story!’ I shared the story of being able to deliver all of these events during a pandemic, border closures, and snap lockdowns. It was definitely an example of being unstoppable. I was accepted and went on to create my chapter called ‘Living the Dream’, which is all about my career as an entrepreneur and business mentor, on overcoming adversity, with a focus on savouring life’s precious moments. The book was released in September and is now an international best-seller. It has also led to several articles published in the US media on my business success and how I created The Bubbles Review. There’s no stopping a woman on a bubbly mission! Cheers!

Get tickets for The Bubbles Festival 2022 on this special pre-sale here.

You may also like these articles

 Natalie Pickett: From Avocation To Vocation; How I Turned My Hobby Into A Career | by Penny Bauder | Authority Magazine | Sep, 2021 | Medium

Natalie Pickett: Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life | by Pirie Jones Grossman | Authority Magazine | Sep, 2021 | Medium

Purchase link for the Becoming an Unstoppable Woman book- Natalie Pickett | She Rises Book Pre-Order (

Like to keep following us, get first look at events, receive bubbly information and be in our giveaway draws and have a chance to win a bubbly prize? You can join our list, it’s FREE to join here.

Natalie Pickett is the Founder of The Bubbles Review which is for people who like champagne and other bubbles, written by people who have a love of all things sparkling! At The Bubbles Review, we like to debunk some myths, make the art of drinking champagne accessible, explore bubbly regions and champagne bars, and provide events for you to join us and indulge.

Gotta love a Festival!

If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’ll know that I talk a lot about making new discoveries when it comes to Sparkling Wine and Champagne. Yes, we all have our favourites, but I love being out and about, exploring, meeting new people, hearing their stories, new sensory discoveries of sights and sounds, and, of course, taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and all of the senses that go along with tasting sparkling wine.

Visiting regions and Cellar Doors is a great way to do this, but it also has its limitations. Making the time to be away, planning to get the most out of your day, and then who will be the designated driver, as one full tasting experience can put you over the limit. So whilst enjoyable and highly recommended, how do you get the tasting experience all in one place?

Step into the festival! The origin of the word comes from the word Feast, and in other Latin-based languages means party. And feast and party it is. I love a good festival – a chance to be out and about and meet people, explore and make new discoveries, all in one compact space, before taking public transport/taxi/Uber home.

In Melbourne, which is arguably Australia’s home of Food and Wine experiences, we are very fortunate to have a festival to celebrate just that – The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) opening at the end of this month and running 31 March – 9 April. I was so excited to see that there are many bubbly-focussed events, as well as some of the bigger events like the City Cellar Door as part of the River Graze (held on the first weekend), which will see tasting tables along the banks of the Yarra River. Entry to this family-friendly event is free, and the $10 Festival glass allows you to participate and enjoy wines by the glass or bottle. Visit for more information.

I am very pleased to have been invited to attend a few of the Bubbly Events at MFWF as accredited media. I will be at the City Cellar Door on the opening night, and here is where I will be for other events. Feel free to find me and say hello. Here are details with links:

Fed in French. Fri 31 March – Sun 2 April this is also part of the FREE River Graze Fed event, the French will take over Federation Square with traditional dishes, fine wines and sweets to treat your Francophile taste buds. The River Terrace will be full of marquees showcasing fare from all regions of France. The crème de la crème will be LE BAR, featuring a selection of French wines, beer and champagne right next to French bistro, Bon Ap’ – popping up for the very first time away from their usual Fitzroy address.

Champagne Lunch with Bollinger – Sun 2 April. I do love a Champagne matched meal. Even its name conjures up good times and bubbles on the tongue. So raise your flute to make a toast to everything that makes Victorian produce great, especially when matched with one of our favourite champagnes. Gather with friends at the 2016 Hotel Bar of the Year to enjoy an indulgent Sunday afternoon of five exquisite courses matched with Bollinger.

Sweet and Savoury Champagne Party – Tuesday 4 April.  I am so excited about this event. Om Nom, which is the dessert bar at The Adelphi that we included in our recent Melbourne Bubbly Evening (see our photos on our Facebook and Instagram pages), has this great event to surprise your tastebuds – and the masters of dessert are experimenting as never before. Join chefs Jo Ward and Darren Jones on a fun canapé ride at a stand-up champagne party, with delightful sweet elements entering the savoury dishes, and clever savoury twists appearing in desserts. Think Balsamic Fairy Floss, Venison with White Chocolate and Truffle Mousse, and dishes such as Squid Bubbletea and Cowramelo! Match this with Laurent Perrier, Champagne Besserat, and Louis Roederer as the champagne sponsors, providing free flowing champagne all night. Very exciting! Here is the link

Best of Victoria High Tea. Two sessions daily between Saturday 1 April to Sunday 9 April. This event focuses on the extraordinary native produce Victoria has to offer. Sample bite-sized delicacies including native Mt Martha oysters, Port Phillip scallops, macadamia tartlets and wattle seed lamingtons. All matched with a lovely selection of Victorian Sparkling Wines. I will be there on Wednesday 5 April, 3–5.30pm.

If you are not from Melbourne, maybe this is the perfect time to visit?! There are lots of regional events for MFWF too, so take a look at the website and plan your program.

Also keep an eye out throughout the year for wine festivals in your area or in regions that you would like to visit.  Book a tour, hire a vehicle with your designated driver, plan an overnight stay, or draw straws to see who gets to be Captain.

And on that note, The Bubbles Review has our own festival happening in Melbourne 28 April – 30 April. We are very excited to introduce the inaugural The Bubbles Festival – a celebration of Sparkling Wine.  See the link to our events page here.

We hope to bring The Bubbles Festival to other states in the future.

It is definitely Feast, Festive, Fiesta, Festival time. Here’s cheers to that!

Natalie Pickett is the Founder of The Bubbles Review which is for people who like champagne and other bubbles, written by people who have a love of all things sparkling! At The Bubbles Review, we like to debunk some myths, make the art of drinking champagne accessible, explore bubbly regions and champagne bars, and provide events for you to join us and indulge.

Like to keep following us? Sign up to The Bubbles Review list and you will be included in our monthly Subscriber prize draw. The monthly giveaway is usually a chance to win a lovely champagne or sparkling gift. Join our list!



Tagliatelle Marinara with cream sauce & chives

Bubbles are great to toast a special occasion and also pre-dinner drinks, but what about continuing with the main course? Because we love champagne and all things sparkling we asked our friends David Stevens-Castro and Fran Flynn from Paired Media to share one of their pairing recipes with us.

[Note: If you are gluten free/low carb, some substitutes to try would be home-made zucchini noodles, or try the Slendier Slim Pasta Fettuccine which are both vegetable based or look for a nice gluten free pasta option.]

This is a beautiful luxurious delicate pasta dish that won’t leave you feeling over full. It’s also surprisingly easy to make and presents very impressively. It’s important to keep the sauce of this recipe light and creamy in texture, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the wine. The tagliatelle is effective at holding the sauce and wrapping it around the seafood as you eat and spaghetti is an excellent alternative. Many fish shops sell a pre-prepared marinara mix. For freshness of flavour the fish should be bought the same day as you intend to cook.


Suggested match NV New World sparkling, ideally a fresh young wine.

Pairing style / cleansing

A fresh, citric New World sparkling wine (ie from Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the US) will meld beautifully with the pasta flavours. The chives and spring onion create the link between the pasta and the wine, adding a fresh touch to the creaminess of the dish.

Prep 15 min

Cook 10 min

Serves 4


1 packet fresh tagliatelle pasta

2 heaped tablespoons of butter

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 spring onions (scallions), chopped

1/2 cup (125ml/4fl oz) dry white wine

200ml (7fl oz) cream

125g (4.5oz) double cream brie, chopped

1½ heaped tablespoons seeded mustard

400g (14oz) seafood marinara mix

bunch fresh chives, chopped


Boil the tagliatelle as per packet’s instructions and set to one side.

Over a high heat melt the butter and add the garlic. Once it starts to sizzle add the spring onions. Reduce heat slightly and stir regularly for about a minute. Add wine and allow to simmer for about 3–4 minutes until the liquid reduces by about a third. Add cream, brie and mustard. Continue to simmer and stir until all the cheese is dissolved.

Introduce the seafood and cook for a further 3–5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the seafood is ready to serve. Taste test to check that the seafood is tender.

Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle liberally with fresh chives. In a colander, refresh the tagliatelle by pouring some hot water over it and shake out any excess water. Plate the tagliatelle and use a ladle to spoon the seafood and sauce on top. Garnish with a final sprinkle of chives.


paired-champagne-and-sparkling-winesRecipe is taken from the multi award winning – PAIRED – Champagne & Sparkling Wines – The food and wine matching recipe book. Written by David Stevens-Castro and Fran Flynn. You can see more of their tips for matching Champagne and Sparkling in our blog – Make every meal sparkle or check out their website –

Like to keep following us? Sign up to The Bubbles Review list and you will be included in our monthly Subscriber prize draw. In December our giveaway includes a chance to win a copy of the lovely PAIRED – Champagne & Sparkling Wines – The food and wine matching recipe book – Join our list!


Make every meal sparkle

There is a popular misconception that champagne and sparkling wines are only useful for raising a toast or washing down the canapés at a wedding. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With Christmas and New Years Eve just around the corner it’s time to start experimenting, so we asked our friends Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro to share some new ideas to surprise your guests and open the door to new discoveries that your tastebuds will be forever grateful for.

Here are some tips on matching bubbles with your food choice:

While true champagne (i.e. produced in the Champagne region of France) is usually around $50/bottle or more, there are other delicious bubbles that come at a lower premium. Having said that, it is still worthwhile buying the best that your budget can afford, unless you have a hot tip for a cheap steal. Or if not champagne you could choose a nice sparkling produced elsewhere.

French sparkling wine with ‘cremant’ on the label is a creamy style of sparkling wine also produced in France. It is produced with similar methodology to champagne but the grapes come from other regions of France. Cava is the name given to sparkling wine produced predominantly in Northern Spain. It is created using native Spanish grapes that usually present a slightly fruitier style to champagne.

In general dry (brut/extra brut in French) sparkling wines tend to match very nicely with oily, nutty and egg-based dishes. Seafood is also a pretty safe bet — and the perfect match for Christmas day prawns. Chicken can work too, but make sure you take into consideration any sauce that accompanies the dish, e.g. something tomato-based is a no-no, however, light creaminess can still enhance nicely.

See the pairing recipe here for Tagliatelle Marinara with cream sauce and chives

There are red varieties of sparkling wine and some can go beautifully with a meaty meal such as duck or lamb. Australia actually produces the largest proportion of available sparkling shiraz. Young examples are usually refreshing, rich, fruity and juicy with a touch of sweetness. Older examples are typically rich and lush in style, and some high quality bottles are suitable for cellaring and aging. Sparkling red offers a surprising texture on the palate and a sparkling shiraz can be a real conversation starter among virgin tasters. For a new angle to the barbie this Christmas, try some sparkling shiraz with your meal.

Moscato is a low-alcohol sweet, often pink, sparkling wine. It generally has an aroma of Turkish delight and is a delightful daytime tipple for holiday time. It is a beautiful accompaniment to an afternoon of high tea with delicate sweet treats or even your Christmas pavlova.

Sparkling rosé can often be mistaken for a sweet wine due to its pink colour but, in fact, it is usually dry in style and very versatile when it comes to matching food. It has a particular affinity with charcuterie (cured and smoked meats), duck, salads, shellfish, berries and chocolate — and even pork! Again, this is particularly enjoyable on a sunny summer’s day.

So put your preconceived notions to one side, take a step out of your comfort zone, offer your guests something new and bask in discoveries that will surprise and delight your palate (not to mention increase your street cred!).


Written by Fran Flynn & David Stevens-Castro paired-champagne-and-sparkling-winesDavid Stevens-Castro is a highly regarded wine expert. He has a degree in Agricultural Science, specialising in fruit and wine production, and extensive experience as a sommelier. Fran Flynn is an award-winning commercial photographer and graphic designer. Living together on the Gold Coast, in Australia, they have pooled their skills as a husband-and-wife team to publish a series of books and share their expertise in the things they love. Check out their multi award winning food and wine match book – PAIRED – Champagne & Sparkling Wines – The food and wine matching recipe book for everyone at their website –

Like to keep following us? Sign up to The Bubbles Review list and you will be included in our monthly Subscriber prize draw.  Join our list! 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén