Where the Fizz Is
BY COREY BURDICK
In the eight years prior to opening Sparkling, Nancy Weber- Curth worked in the Middle East as Iraq’s country director for a non-governmental organization and as a training consultant in Baghdad. She is a chemist, saleswoman, international business consultant—and now owner of a sparkling wine and champagne bar. Weber-Curth opened Sparkling at the end of May 2012 to help fill a niche in Middlebury. Since she and her husband have lived in Ferrisburgh for the past 27 years, she was already intimately attuned to the area. “I chose Middlebury because of the cultural awareness and appreciation of its residents and their curiosity to learn about and try new things. “
“I wanted to improve the economy by starting a small business and sourcing locally,” she said. So far, she has included cheeses from Blue Ledge Farm, Orb Weaver Farm, Thistle Hill Farm and the Scholten Family Farm on her menu, as well as chocolates from Daily Chocolate and Middlebury Chocolates. Even her tabletops were made by local contractors using Addison County soft maple!
Weber-Curth’s desire to support small producers is showcased on her sparkling wine and champagne list as well. The weekly menu typically lists 15 to 16 sparkling wines and four to five champagnes. with four sparklers and one champagne available by the glass.
“My favorite producers are those who create Champagne’s grower champagnes. These vignerons grow their own grapes from which they make outstanding champagnes. Each is unique based on the grapes, the terroir and the style of the vigneron. They are small-business people without the large advertising budgets of the big champagne houses, and they make excellent champagnes!”
Sparkling is unlike many bars in that the focus is solely on glasses of bubbly and petite nibbles for pairing. It is neither loud nor pretentious. “The atmosphere is low-key; it is an oasis where you can take time out and converse with your companions. Sparkling is a great place to celebrate the moment—after work, before or after dinner/ theater/a movie, on Sunday afternoon with friends or alone with the New York Times,” Weber-Curth said.
Although Sparkling hasn’t even been open for a year, Weber-Curth is busy planning more events. The monthly tastings, which she began in October to introduce people to sparkling wines and champagnes, will continue, in addition to a foreign language series. Weber-Curth noted that one of the highlights of her time at Sparkling so far has been “the constant stream of foreign languages spoken by students and professors from the Middlebury College Language Schools who relaxed at Sparkling during summer 2012. A bi-monthly Russianlanguage conversation group started in October and plans for a Spanish-language conversation group are being finalized.
Often, people seem to think they need a special occasion to partake of a nice glass of sparkling wine or champagne, but Weber-Curth insists that needn’t be the case. Judging by her warm welcome into Middlebury, many echo that sentiment.
56 College St.