English wine gets Royal stamp of approval

14 February, 2013

The Duchess of Cornwall declared English wines will one day rival their French counterparts after tasting a range of homegrown sparklings, whites and reds last night.

The Duchess became president of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association last year.

She enjoyed her first social event with members at Vintner’s Hall in London last night, where OLN joined leading lights from the industry including Oz Clarke and Michael Cox to welcome her.

After trying wines from the likes of Ridgeview and Three Choirs at the English Wine Producers event, she raised a toast to the efforts of UK winegrowers.

“French wines have been going a little bit longer than us but it is a bit like cheeses - we will catch up with them yet,” she said.

She also tasted a dessert wine from Denbies Estate in Dorking, Surrey. This land once belonged to her family.

She told guests she has always had a passion for wine because her father, Major Bruce Shand, was in the business.

The Duchess added that some of the functions she attends feel like work, but that this was most certainly a pleasure.

English wine producer Mark Driver, of Rathfinny Estate in East Sussex, said that the climate in the south of England is similar to the Champagne region 20 years ago, and that England is primed to continue producing sparkling wines superior to their French counterparts.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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